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Bridging the Distance to Nusa Dua

Idea for Bridge Way to Connect Sanur and Tanjung Benoa Being Discussed, Again.

(2/6/2005) An idea that regularly resurfaces in Bali, most recently at a seminar on how to reduce traffic congestion in the Tanjung Benoa area, is the construction of a bridge and fly pass connecting the Nusa Dua peninsula to Serangan Island, the island sitting just off Sanur's coast.

Tanjung Benoa the adjunct to the Nusa Dua Development Complex has undergone rapid development in recent years creating traffic jams as hotel, restaurants and shops multiplied in the area.

Depending on the season and resulting traffic flows, a trip from Tanjung Benoa to Sanur beach can take anything from 30 minutes to an hour to cover the short 18 kilometer trip. However, the proposed 300 meter bridge spanning the entrance to Benoa Harbor and connecting Tanjung Benoa and Serangan Island -Sanur could reduce the travel time to only 5-10 minutes, shrinking travel time between the southernmost tip of the island and the central and northern regions.

Rough cost calculations discussed at the January seminar for the proposed bridge way were placed at Rp. 160 billion (approximately US$ 17.4 million). In order to accelerate such a modification to the Island's infrastructure, many have urged that as opposed to waiting for prolonged and uncertain inclusion of such a large project in some future annual government budget the more expedient alternative might be to privately finance the proposed bridge way allowing investors to recoup their investment through road toll fees.

Potentially Problematic

Because of age-old local religious and cultural sensitivities, any transportation plan that include overpasses and underpasses have, in the past, been consistently resisted in Bali. As a result, it is impossible to find even so much as a single pedestrian overpass on the Island. Local observers, however, argue that since the proposed bridge and fly pass would be constructed over areas that are technically "off shore" and and bridges would be suspended over water, it would not pose the same problems as a land-based elevated roadways that might allow those considered "ritually unclean" to pass over the heads of Bali Hindu devotees.

Also almost certain to become a hotly debated issue if plans for the proposed bridge way go ahead will be questions from environmentalist regarding the potential deleterious effects on the mangrove forests that surround Serangan Island and Sanur's shore line.