"We have settled around 70 percent of it."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - About 70 percent of the construction of a 725 kilometer Jakarta-Surabaya double-track railway have been completed and expected to be finished before the end of the year.

"The construction of the double-track railway is still on schedule, despite negotiations on land acquisition in some locations," Deputy Minister of Transportation Bambang Susantono said here after he opened a seminar organized by the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE) Indonesia Section here Thursday.

According to him, the Trans-Java railway would be operated gradually in line with the completion of the construction.

Susantono said the Jakarta-Semarang section would be finished and operated before the Muslim`s post-fasting holidays this year. The construction for the eastern section would be continued afterward.

The Tegal-Pekalongan and Pekalongan-Brebes sections have been finished and fully operational, while the 60km Cirebon-Brebes section is still under construction and is scheduled to be finished in a few months.

Meanwhile, the team of a 90km Pekalongan-Semarang section construction is facing a hill ahead. "The hill must be leveled that the railway would go straight instead of meandering to allow the train to spur," Susantono said.

However, the major challenge of the Trans-Java double-track railway was the land acquisition.

"We have settled around 70 percent of it. We are progressing. However, there were some spots that need further negotiations," he said.

The double-track railway was expected to increase the train passenger capacity. "We built it to reduce the road load and to increase the passenger`s mobility," he said.

The Government has allocated Rp9.7 trillion for the Jakarta-Surabaya double-track railway.

The construction was divided into four sections namely Cirebon-Brebes, Pekalongan-Semarang, Semarang-Bojonegoro and Bojonegoro-Surabaya.

People currently take about 12 hours to travel from Jakarta to Surabaya via express train or around 15 hours via economy train. However, the double-track is expected to shorten it to 8.5 hours.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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