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Construction of Jakarta light rail to kick off soon? LIPPO CIKARANG - Where most metropolis in the world - inclusive of those in virtually all third-world-countries - already are 'equipped' with at least one form of mass rapid transit, Indonesia has do do it the railroad tracks that were laid down during the Dutch colonial period and buses that were put on the road for the first time when Suharto just became president.

It is about time for something new, but Jakarta is full. Especially where most people travel, there is hardly any space left to create another lane of traffic, or to clear a stretch of land for the construction of any form of public transport. Money for a decent subway system is not available and constructing a subway system would have the same problems for large parts of Jakarta as they have constructing it in Amsterdam; the soil is not stable enough which would make it even more expensive.

In the time Megawati Soekarnoputri was president, somewhere in 2004, the construction of a monorail line was commenced; right through the financial heart of the city. People that have visited Jakarta ever since know that this monorail does not exist, never finished because investors pulled out, probably scared by the huge amount of additional 'taxes' to be paid to influential people.

It has been seven years now and finally there are real plans to start with the construction of an fairly extended light rail network in the Greater Jakarta area, where some 15 to 20 million people live. The first line would run from north to south between Kampung Bandan (north of the Kota train station) and Lebak Bulus in southern Jakarta.

This project is split up in two parts because of financial reasons; the first stretch of 15.5 kilometer between Lebak Bulus and Bunderan HI - in front of Plaza Indonesia - will get seven stops above ground-level and six stations below ground-level. It is now targeted that this light rail should be operating at the end of 2016. That is some 5.5 years to go, a fairly limited amount of time for something that has not even started construction at all in this corrupted country.

The 15.5 kilometer stretch of rail will get stations at the following locations: Lebak Bulus, Fatmawati, Cipete Raya, Haji Nawi, Blok A, Blok B, Sisingamangaraja, Bundaran Senayan, Istora, Bendungan Hilir, Setiabudi, Dukuh Atas and Bunderan HI. For those that know Jakarta a little but; this is indeed one of the most important life-lines through Jakarta, clogged up with tens of thousands of vehicles every single day.

For what that concerned, this route is most likely one of the most busy that you can construct in Southeast Asia if you ask me, but construction and implementation of this whole idea should be done in a completely automated fashion and can not fail, after all the system should be able to handle a passing train every five minutes just like in Kuala Lumpur for example.

Maquette of a above-ground station in the future light rail network of Jakarta.

Plans to construct the second part of this line, from Bunderan HI towards the far north - and thus in former swamp areas and long-gone mangrove forests, unstable soils - have been produced already. The route that is now planned is via Sarinah, Monas, Harmoni, Sawah Besar, Mangga Besar, Glodok, Kota and Kampung Bandan. This stretch should be up and running by 2020.

But this project would not be an Indonesian project if there was no megalomaniac addition to it. Further plans not just contain one single route, but a number of additional routes since it is already sure that this complete route will be up and running fully by 2020, without any problems, Inshallah.

But what are these plans exactly? Well, simply the expansion of the light rail with routes that stretch as far as Tangerang, southwest of Jakarta, and Bekasi, east of Jakarta. This is roughly the horizontal axis through Greater Jakarta. Several possibilities for this route even reach as far as Cikarang, at 40 kilometers from the heart of Jakarta. This project can, if everything runs well, be constructed between 2024 and 2027. We'll see!

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Related blog entries (category 'Economy') Tags: Jakarta, light rail, project, construction, start

Posted in Economy @ 27 March 2011 07:37 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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