Jakarta (ANTARA) - Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) Minister Basuki Hadimuljono is targeting to complete Phase 1 of the new capital (IKN) Nusantara toll road project by July this year.

"We need to pay attention and ensure the quality because the quality of this toll road should be better than other toll roads. In July 2024, it should be finished and ready to operate," he said in Jakarta on Friday.

According to him, the toll road network will connect Balikpapan city with the IKN Central Government Core Area (KIPP) in North Penajam Paser, mainly crossing the IKN Toll Road and the Balang Island Bridge.

As part of Phase 1, work is currently on in three sections of the IKN Toll Road: Section 3A from Karangjoang to KKT Kariangau spanning 13.4 kilometers, whose progress has reached 48 percent; Section 3B from KKT Kariangau to Simpang Tempadung stretching 7.3 km, which is 57 percent complete; and the 6.7-km Section 5A from Simpang Tempadung to Balang Island Bridge, work on which has reached 67 percent completion.

The three sections are targeted to be completed by July 2024, the minister informed.

Meanwhile, for Section 6A connecting Riko to IKN Outer Ring Road Plan and Section 6B linking Outer Ring Road with Simpang 3 ITCI, land acquisition and construction have now begun, with work on Section 6A 4.8 percent complete and on Section 6B 17.5 percent, he informed.

According to Hadimuljono, the toll road will cut the distance and travel time from Balikpapan to KIPP IKN from 95 km, which took 2 hours and 15 minutes to cover, to 57 km, which will take 45 minutes to cover.

Along both sides of the toll road, trees endemic to Kalimantan have been planted, in accordance with the IKN's forest and smart forest city concept, he informed.

Connectivity to IKN is also being expanded through continued beautification activities on Balang Island Bridge, which was completed in 2021, he said.

He added that the security and beautification work has been on since September 2022, and it has included the installation of a Structural Health Monitoring System (SHMS), a concrete block armor, landscaped gardens in the area of the Bridge Information Center (PIJ) building, a playground, shops, public toilets, a mosque, a guard post, a floating dock, solar panels, and an amphitheater.

The Balang Island Bridge construction project comprised an 804-meter-long main bridge, an approach bridge measuring 167 meters in length, and an access road spanning 1,807 meters. The beautification work has been included in the Ship Collision Protection (Fender) and complementary building package and is being carried out using a state budget allocation of Rp306 billion.

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Translator: Aji Cakti, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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