Made Anthony Iswara, Jakarta – I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali will soon get a facelift through the development of a South Korea-backed light rail transit (LRT) service to reduce traffic congestion in the area, an executive of the project's construction firm has said.
State-owned construction firm Nindya Karya signed Thursday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with South Korean public company Korea Rail Network Authority (KRNA), and Korea Overseas Infrastructure and Urban Development Corporation for the Rp 5 trillion (US$400 million) project.
The LRT will span 4.78 kilometers with four stations between a would-be satellite terminal in Kuta, Bali's tourist epicenter, and the airport, Nindya Karya acting president director Haedar A. Karim, said.
"The project is the first step to a green city and transit-oriented development in Seminyak and Kuta," Haedar said after the MoU signing in Jakarta.
The LRT service could benefit millions of visitors who travel in and out of the airport each year by providing an alternative means of transport to the airport. Around 5.7 million people went through the airport's gates between January and November last year, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data show.
Construction for the project would kick off around three months after the MoU signing, Haedar said. He expressed hope that the LRT would be able to start running in one-and-a-half to two years.
"It will look like [Jakarta's] MRT," Haedar said, adding that it would be built 30 meters below surface level. "We will build the LRT fully underground because in [Balinese] culture, building above [15 meters] is forbidden."
Aside from Bali's LRT project, KRNA has also provided $500 million to finance the development of the LRT serving the velodrome facility in Rawamangun, East Jakarta, to Dukuh Atas, Central Jakarta.
The North Sumatra provincial administration is also planning to build an LRT system this year with the help of KRNA to connect four cities: Medan, Binjai, Deli Serdang and Karo.