Bali Toll road operational in July 2013



  Construction of the Benoa-Nusa Dua toll road has entered its final stage and the road is expected to become operational in July. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will officially inaugurate the island's first toll road on July 13.

The toll road is part of an expensive infrastructure overhaul designed to be completed ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in early October. Around 21 heads of state are expected to attend the summit. The overhaul also includes the Rp 2.8 trillion (US$283.91 million) expansion of Ngurah Rai airport and construction of the Dewa Ruci underpass, which cost Rp 136 billion.

"President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has planned to officially open the toll road. We hope that the toll road can solve the traffic problem in southern Bali that has become a constant source of complaint from locals and tourists," Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika told journalists on Tuesday.

Pastika added that a Balinese Hindu ceremony would be conducted before the official inauguration. The ceremony will comprise melaspas (to cleanse a new building of bad spirits) and pecaruan (offering). "The ritual is very important based on our beliefs," Pastika said, adding that the new toll road may also become a tourism attraction.

The Benoa-Nusa Dua toll road runs for 12 kilometers, a large part of which is along the southern shoreline, and it is claimed to be the most beautiful toll road in Indonesia. The road, which required total investment of Rp 2.5 trillion, will connect Benoa harbor in Denpasar, Ngurah Rai International Airport and the Nusa Dua tourism enclave. It is built on 34,000 concrete pillars.

The construction is under a public-private partnership involving seven state-owned enterprises the Bali and Badung administrations.

Bali administration is now considering a name for the road. One proposal is I Wayan Lotring, a grandmaster of Balinese dance and percussion from Badung regency who lived between 1898 and 1983.

Another proposal is Prof. Ida Bagus Mantra, the much-beloved former Bali governor. The late Mantra initiated the annual Bali Arts Festival as well as the construction of the Werddhi Budaya Art Center.

Hindu high priest, Ida Pedanda Gede Putra Bajing, said it was very important to hold a Hindu ritual before the road started operation.

Akhmad Tito Karim, director of PT Jasa Marga Bali Tol, said that the company would hold a trial before the toll road officially opened to the public.

The head of Bali Public Works Agency, Ketut Artika, said the tariff was still being discussed. Artika said that it could be around Rp 2,000 to Rp 4,000 for motorcycles and around Rp 8,000 to Rp 10,000 for cars.  

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