The government is accelerating the construction of the Lampung-Palembang toll road, which is expected to serve as an alternative road for travelers during the Idul Fitri exodus, although it is not likely to be fully operational in time for the holiday.
Part of the toll road – Bakauheni- Terbanggi – has been in operation after being inaugurated by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in March. The toll road will be connected to Palembang through Kayuagung.
“The toll road will be functional soon, but we need to check the readiness,” said Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi during his visit to the South Sumatra capital city of Palembang on Friday.
The minister said he needed to check toll road sections in Lampung and South Sumatra. However, he stressed that because only part of the toll road was open, users did not need to pay tolls.
“Imagine, people could enjoy toll roads from Surabaya, [crossing the Sunda Strait] through Merak Port – to Palembang,” he said, adding that the toll road would help ease traffic during the long holiday.
He also believed the toll road would be able to boost the local economy, particularly at rest stops.
Previously, Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said the ministry was focusing on two sections of the 350 kilometer toll road, namely damaged roads outside the Terbanggi toll gate and the completion of Kayuagung Bridge.
“Soon after the bridge is completely constructed, we will start road hardening work. Then, we will integrate the Lampung-Palembang toll road,” Basuki said during a recent visit to Palembang.