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Java's roads packed with holiday travelers INDRAMAYU/SEMARANG - Driyanto, a 42-year-old man from Jakarta, left the capital at 4 a.m. on Friday for Banyumas municipality in Central Java. He arrived in Cirebon, West Java, 12 hours later. The trip normally takes about four hours. "I arrived here at around 4 p.m., meaning it took 12 hours from Jakarta," Driyanto told The Jakarta Post while taking a travel break in Cirebon.
Many other homegoers were similarly trapped in severe traffic jams along West Java highways, as the annual exodus of millions of people traveling overland to their hometowns to celebrate Idul Fitri, the end of Ramadhan, reached a peak on Friday. Thousands of vehicles packed with passengers from Jakarta and their belongings were seen crawling along West Java's northern coastal road (Pantura) in Indramayu regency, with Idul Fitri just two days away.
Heavy traffic was also reported along a number of highways on the Bogor-Puncak-Cianjur route and at the Nagreg three-way intersection in Bandung, the capital city of West Java. Traffic congestion was made worse by a number of crowded traditional markets along Pantura, from Pamanukan in Subang regency to Patrol in Indramayu. Traffic jams are expected to continue until Saturday night, hours before the non-obligatory Idul Fitri prayer.
Hundreds of police officers, deployed to ensure smooth traffic flow, appeared powerless. Traffic congestion began to ease after more personnel from the Subang and Indramayu police stations arrived to bring order around the markets. "We have done everything to solve the problem, including stationing policemen to form barricades along the road at the markets, but traffic jams remain because traders, buyers and road users are oblivious to the need to jointly maintain order," Indramayu Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Johni Suroto said on Friday.
Some drivers confirmed that congestion was largely due to crowded markets along the northern coastal road, saying it took three hours to pass some markets. Along the Indramayu route, traditional markets are located in Patrol, Losarang, Bangkir and Karangampel, which are usually packed with shoppers and traders. There are also a number of other markets along the Cirebon highway. Traffic also came to a complete stop for hours at a number of spots along the Bogor-Puncak-Cianjur route.
"Crowds were seen gathering at a number of markets in Magamendung and Cisarua, also hindering traffic flow," Bogor Police chief Sr. Comr. Muhammad Taufik was quoted by Antara as saying. The Nagreg three-way intersection was also severely congested, with the road proving unable to accommodate the huge number of vehicles from Jakarta and other cities in West Java, which were heading for cities in Central and East Java. The traffic jam there stretched for seven kilometers.
It takes only five minutes on normal days to travel the Rancaekek-Nagreg route, but it took more than one hour on Friday. Long lines of vehicles were seen in Batang, one of the cities along Central Java's northern coastal road, where thousands of cars pass. Central Java Governor Mardiyanto admitted that at least 112 traditional markets along the province's main roads were hindering traffic flow. "Fortunately, the traffic jams can be reduced because we deal with them seriously," he said in Semarang. However, the governor warned travellers of flooding and landslides in Kebumen, Banyumas and Banjarnegara



Posted in Ramadan @ 16 November 2004 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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