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The High Cost of High Ways in Bali

Work to Start on Bali's Simpang Siur Flyover in 2011.

(7/3/2010) Construction of a 600-meter-long elevated bypass connecting Bali's South with the Sunset Road at the Dewa Ruci Monument (Simpang Siur) will commence in 2011. The roadway is expected to cost Rp. 300 billion (US$32.6 million) and is targeted to be completed in time for a major APEC conference to be held in Bali in 2013.

As reported by the Bali Post, the chairman of Commission III of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali), Putu Agus Surdnyana, said the bypass which will be located on the western side of the Dewa Ruci Monument and represents the last hope to overcome traffic congestion in the area.

Another step discussed to reduce traffic jams near the island's airport is the widening of the highway located in front of the Ngurah Rai Statue, near the eastern end of runway for Bali's airport. From the south leading to the western end of the airport authorities would like to create a one-way road, necessitating the widening by 1-2 meters the current northbound lane. To achieve this, discussion are being held with the airport's authority, PT Angkasa Pura, to surrender the right-of-way for the 1-2 meters of roadside land that will make the project possible.

Flyovers versus Underpasses

A member of Commission III of the DPR-Bali, Ida Bagus Udiyana, said the cost of creating a flyover is much less that installing an underground tunnel at the Simpang Siur round-a-bout. Said Udiyana: "This is a pressing program which must be commenced as soon as possible bearing in mind that there are a number of international events facing us. If the current situation is allowed to continue, the traffic congestion will become worse. Kuta will not develop to become a metropolitan center but, instead, a ‘misery-opolis" – an urban center that is crowded and unpleasant for local residents."

Problems Ahead?

In a follow up report in Bali Post says the construction of the flyover may be delayed or impeded by the high level of compensation being sought by property owners who will have to move for the project to go ahead.

Established buildings in the area that are in possession of valid building permits render problematic the job of officials seeking to vacate the estimated 1.5 hectares of land needed to build the highway. Based on a current valuation of Rp. 500 million (US$54,400) per are (100 square meters), a total of Rp. 75 billion (US$8.15 million) will be required for land acquisition alone.

Officials will also have to relocate high power electrical lines in order for the new road project to go ahead.