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Bridge It No Go

Plans to Build a Bali Bridge Between Sanur and Tanjung Benoa Hits a Ministerial Snag.

(6/7/2010) Continuing efforts to build a bridge linking Sanur-Serangan Island-Tanjung Benoa have been delivered a set back due to a regulation issued by the Minister of Transportation, Freddy Numberi, stipulating that the minimum under-bridge clearance for the proposed cross-channel span is 44 meters. Current plans and costings for the Bali project only provide for a clearance of 33 meters.

Quoted in the Bali Post, the Chairman of Commission II of Bali's Provincial House of Representatives, Putu Agus Suradyana, said, "this means the Minister has defeated the project."

While refusing to assign any hidden motives for the Minister's ruling, Suradyana said he will seek further clarification from the Minister's office. "A clearance of 44 meters beneath to proposed Tanjung Benoa Serangan bridge is not in conformance with the master plan of the Benoa Port supported by the governor's letter of January 21, 2008, which also includes technical considerations," explained the legislator.

The Bali head of the Transportation Department, Made Santa, admitted that the realization of the "short-cut" bridge connection Denpasar with Tanjung Benoa presents many challenges in trying to balance various competing interests. On the one hand, the bridge can not be so high as to interfere with the flight course of planes taking off and landing at Ngurah Rai International airport. On the other hand, the bridge must provide an under-bridge leeway sufficient to permit handling ships of up to 20,000 gross tons docking at the Benoa port.

In order to address this impasse, the provincial government is undertaking the construction of a cruise ship port at Tanah Ampo on Bali's East Coast at Karangasem.

The Ministerial decree means that the preliminary plans and studies for the proposed bridge must be reworked for eventual presentation to candidate investors. Meanwhile, local legislators are hopeful the Numberi can be persuaded to accept the current plans providing for only 33 meters of free clearance beneath the proposed bridge.

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