Bali Bridge is Falling Down, Falling Down

An iconic, unused bridge on Jalan Raya Wisma Gajah Mada over the Oos River on the border between Sukawati and Blahbatuh in Gianyar Regency is teetering on the verge of total collapse.

Initially built in 1908 and closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic since 1977, the derelict “Jembatan Belanda” (Dutch Bridge) sits adjacent to and above a Buddhist Temple – Vihara Amurva Bhumi. 

As reported in, in recent weeks, some of the suspension cables on the century-old bridge have snapped, causing the bridge to list in a southerly direction. The resulting precarious position of the bridge also makes access to the  Vihara Amurva Bhumi dangerously problematic.

The Master of the Vihara Amurva Bhumi, Tjwa Sin Liang, explained that the snapped suspension cable was first detected on Friday, 01 December 2023, at around 5:30 p.m. during a heavy rain storm. Recalling the moment, Liang said: “The suspension cable caused a loud, explosive sound when it snapped. My wife had just finished her prayers.” Adding: “Fortunately, the suspension wire on the north side of the bridge remained intact. If that cable had also snapped, the bridge might have collapsed and fallen on the temple (vihara).”

The suspension cables supporting the bridge’s structure had become covered in rust for the past year preceding the break. Officials had subsequently surveyed the derelict bridge with plans to dismantle and remove the bridge in 2024. 

The bridge measures 60 meters long and 5 meters wide.

Plans to dismantle and remove the bridge have now been accelerated.

In the meantime, access to the  Vihara Amurva Bhumi is closed. The bridge is situated directly over the stairs leading into the temple. An emergency, temporary stairway has been put in place near the temple’s north side to accommodate worshippers performing their daily prayers and rituals.

Close Proximity of Derelict Bridge and Vihara Amurva Bhumi

The old colonial-era bridge was constructed with a steel frame using wooden planks to span the river chasm. A modern bridge completed well before its 1977 closure provides passage over the Oos River on one of Bali’s busiest roads, connecting the southern island with Bali’s north and east coast. 

The local police precinct in Blahbatuh inspected the bridge. It determined that a vertical sling securing the west side of the bridge broke free, affecting the structural integrity of the structure and resulting in a southern list of 5 degrees.

The Police Precinct Chief for Blahbatuh, AKP Made Tama, reports that his officers found the sling and metal structure were very old and greatly corroded. Police encircled the bridge with a yellow “police line.” 

Local authorities are now working to accelerate the dismantling and removal of the derelict bridge to prevent possible damage to the nearby temple. 

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