Nina A. Loasana, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo inaugurated the Pekanbaru-Dumai section of the trans-Sumatera toll road through a virtual ceremony carried out from the Bogor Palace in Bogor, West Java, on Tuesday.
"Thank God, construction of the Pekanbaru-Dumai toll road has been completed. The toll road can now be fully operational and used for productive activities for Riau residents or people crossing Sumatra Island," Jokowi said during the event, which was broadcasted through the Presidential Secretariat's official YouTube channel.
Spanning 131.5 kilometers and consisting of six sections, the Pekanbaru-Dumai toll road is the first in Riau province. Construction kicked off in 2017 with a total cost of Rp 12.18 trillion (US$818.25 million).
The Pekanbaru-Dumai toll road is part of the trans-Sumatra toll road, which will extend 2,987 kilometers through Sumatra island connecting Lampung to Aceh.
okowi said its construction had increased interest in investments around the area.
"The toll road has brought investment interest around the area, such as the development of industrial areas, housing complexes and tourist spots that would create," Jokowi said.
"Investors' interest to support the development of the local economy should be responded to quickly, so the regional administration and local residents could reap the benefits of infrastructure built by the government."
The Pekanbaru-Dumai highway includes five tunnels specifically designed to allow wildlife to cross as the fourth section is located near the Balai Raja and Siak Kecil wildlife conservation areas, home to endemic Sumatran elephants.
Jokowi expressed hope that the highway could be used as a tool to boost welfare equality.
"I urge the local administration and Pekanbaru and Dumai residents to use this [toll road] as a tool to create more business opportunities and a facility to increase welfare equality."