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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   5 November 2013  

Jakarta's MRT project to go ahead, despite more complaints

As one of only a few routes connecting areas to the south of Jakarta with the capital, Jl. RS Fatmawati is always filled with cars and motorcycles, resulting in traffic jams, especially during rush hours.

With the Jakarta Public Works Agency working on a road-widening project for the construction of the upcoming Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, residents along the street along with drivers and motorists have been complaining about the gridlock caused by the project.

“The road-widening project has worsened the traffic jams. Before the project began, the street was already crowded during rush hour, but I could still move. Now it [the traffic] mostly stops,” a motorist, Dini Urwati, said.

The agency’s strategy to work at night to prevent gridlock has failed because “they [the workers] leave their heavy equipment on the road, blocking part of the street,” she said.

Echoing Dini, Eddiet Priyo said he had to leave his house in Bekasi, East Jakarta, earlier than usual to reach his office. “It takes about half an hour longer to get to work,” he said.

It is not only traffic jams that are causing frustration. Dilla Fadilla who lives in a boarding house near Jl. Fatmawati, said the project was a cause of accidents for motorists.

“I have seen some motorcyclists fall from their bikes due to the height difference between lanes,” she said.

As part of the project, the Public Works Agency is raising the road’s height from 5 centimetres to 10 cm and widening the road from 2 metres to 3 metre.

Yanti, the owner of a shop on Jl. Fatmawati, also raised concerns about the increase of the road’s height, as her shop was now slightly lower than the road.

“I’m afraid water will flow down here when it rains,” she said.

The agency’s section head for road construction, Irfanudin, said the agency aimed to finish the road-widening project by mid-December.

PT MRT Jakarta president director Dono Boestami said construction of the MRT was slated to start within four to six months of the ground breaking, which took place on Oct. 10.

“We don’t have to wait until the [road-widening] is completed. But we are still waiting for the detailed engineering design (DED) to begin construction,” Dono said.

Jl. RS Fatmawati will have three elevated stations Blok A station, Haji Nawi and Cipete Raya which will be built within five years by two different contractors.

Dono said his company had prepared concepts for traffic management during the construction phase. “Each place will see different management measures because the problems are different,” he said.

Some people, like motorist Eddiet, accept the short-term disruption for the long-term gain of better transportation in the future, while shop owner Yanti recognises she can do nothing but accept the situation. Dilla said she could not imagine the traffic during the MRT’s construction.

“The traffic today is bad enough, and the construction has not even started,” she said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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