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North Ubud Businesses Isolated by Bridge Collapse

Cok Ace Warns that Funds Unavailable for a New Bridge in 2009 Budget.

(1/19/2009) A Bridge providing access between Banjar Tibe Kuah and the main traffic artery in Payangan, North Ubud, has collapsed isolating villagers and a number of tourism enterprises in that area.

A victim of the flooding and heavy rains that occurred on Sunday, January 11, 2009, the bridge tumbled into a local ravine bringing with it the water mains which brought water to the surrounding community.

The loss of the bridge and its water piping has sent hundreds of people to the local river to bathe and to obtain essential water supplies. Meanwhile,local workers and farmers are isolated from local markets and their places of employment by the downed bridge.

Alternative Route

What was once a trip of a few minutes to the main highway in Payangan, has now become an arduous half hour journey of over 4 kilometers over a make shift dirt roads cutting through local fields. The one-lane dirt road now is now suddenly being used to serve hundreds of vehicles offering a precarious solution to the loss of the bridge, especially so in the current period of heavy rains in Bali.

Businesses Affected

Among the business suffering some degree of isolation due to the bridge collapse are the Como Shambhala Resort, Ayung Resort, Rijasa Agung, Gana and Sobek Rafting.

A piodalan ceremony set for Saturday evening, January 17th was moved up to mid-day due to the bridge collapse. Local authorities expected up to 10,000 Balinese would attend the ceremony at the Pura Dadia Santi in Banjar Ribe Kauh. While normally held in the evening hours, the alternative dirt road was considered too dangerous to pass in the evening hours for the thousands of devotees seeking to obtain access to the ceremonies.

Government Response Disappointing

Nusa Bali carried a page-one report on Saturday, January 17, 2009, in which the Regent of Gianyar, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati (Cok Ace), issued an apology to the people suffering as a result of the bridge's collapse. At the same time he warned the public not to expect any urgent response by the government to their plight. Cok Ace said the estimated Rp. 250 million (US$22,300) needed for an emergency bridge would be a waste of money. He also said that the estimated Rp. 3 billion (US$267,900) needed for a new bridge is well beyond the limited means of the 2009 regional budget for Gianyar.