Indonesia: Tasting trans-Sumatra connectivity

  • The Medan-Binjai toll road is just a small section of the trans-Sumatra toll road that is to stretch from Aceh in the north to Lampung in the south. The total length of the toll road is to be 2,048 kilometers.
  • It is to be divided into four main corridors: Lampung-Palembang (358 km), Palembang-Pekanbaru (610 km), Pekanbaru-Medan (548 km) and Medan-Banda Aceh (460 km).
  • There are also to be three priority corridors consisting of Palembang-Bengkulu (303 km), Pekanbaru-Padang (242 km) and Medan-Sibolga (175 km). In total, the trans-Sumatra highway is to cost about IDR476tr.
  • On 8 Mar 19, Jokowi inaugurated the IDR16.8tr-140.9km Bakauheni-Terbanggi Besar section of the trans-Sumatra highway in Lampung province. He had already officiated the opening of the 8.9-km Section 1 connecting Bakauheni to a nearby port and the 5.65-km Section 5 connecting Lematang and Kotabaru on 21 Jan 19.
  • Travelers are expected to be able to use the toll roads for 2019’s Idul Fitri exodus, which is to take place near the end of May 19. To drive from Bakauheni Port to Palembang, South Sumatra, a distance of about 350 km, would take just 5 – 6 hours.
  • Right now, Hutama Karya is still preparing for the operation of the 2.7-km Helvetia-Marelan subsection, which is part of the Medan-Binjai section.
  • In general, each km of the trans-Sumatra toll road costs the state enterprise IDR172bn, compared to the trans-Java, which only costs IDR100bn per km, because of differences in terrain.
  • Brahmantio Isdijoso, the Finance Ministry’s director of state finance risk management, said that based on studies, the trans-Sumatra toll road would make good macroeconomic impacts.
  • Despite the rosy picture, Hutama Karya is also facing tough challenges, especially in land acquisition. There were several ongoing disputes related to land ownership and opposition from villagers who are being forced off their land by the toll road construction.
  • “About 40% of the land [needed for construction] has not yet been acquired,” Bintang said. However, he said he believed the state-owned enterprise would meet the 2024 deadline set by President Jokowi.

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