Wanted: Long-Term Road Program for Jakarta
Arientha P. The Jakarta Globe, Jakarta - 15/12/2010
The roads in Jakarta inspire as much fear as they do confidence in the motorists who use them, not least because of the crater-like potholes that appear regularly after heavy rains.
Dedy, a private sector employee, says he prefers to ride his motorcycle home along an unused busway lane rather than take the risk of using the road next to it.
“At night I’m afraid of taking the main road of Jalan M.T. Haryono because the lighting isn’t good and there are many holes and bumps in the road surface,” he told the Jakarta Globe.
He said many motorcyclists do the same.
Jalan Gatot Subroto and M.T. Haryono in South Jakarta, both key thoroughfares in the city’s road network, are prime examples of the poor state of roads in the capital. Both roads have many asphalt patches that are meant to fill in potholes but only serve to create bumps.
The Jakarta Police’s Traffic Directorate lists 53 roads that have potholes due to heavy rains.
Ery Basworo, head of the Jakarta Public Works Agency, said of the 53, 27 are local roads and 26 are state roads. The latter fall under the management of the central government, while the former are the responsibility of the city administration.
This year, the administration has repaired its 27 damaged roads as well as five state roads that host busway lanes, including Jalan Gatot Subroto and Jalan M.T. Haryono.
Ery said the administration would continue to monitor the roads.
Roads that are only slightly damaged are repaired by patching potholes with asphalt, while moderately damaged roads are first dug up and a new layer of blacktop laid down.
A layer of concrete is added to heavily damaged roads.
Ery said his office is also carrying out repairs to roadside drains.
That is expected to help channel rainwater faster to minimize damage to the road surface.
However, I Putu Ngurah Indiana, deputy head of the Public Works Agency, said there are more than 100 damaged roads across the capital. He said the locations always change as some sections get repaired and others suffer from new problems. “Our plan is to repair the roads and lay down a layer of concrete, but we’ll have to do it gradually because it’s expensive,” he said, adding the priority will be the main roads.
Ellen Tangkudung, secretary general of the nongovernmental Indonesian Transportation Society (MTI), said the government needs to carry out regular checks on roads and not just act based on complaints.
“Roads are an important public facility, so their maintenance is a matter of urgency because it’s for the public,” she says. She added that the key to maintaining road quality is to ensure roads do not get flooded.
This calls for a good drainage system as well as flood mitigation and traffic control. Meanwhile, Yayat Supriyatna, an urban planning expert from Jakarta’s Trisakti University, said the sheer volume of vehicles taking to the streets every day also damage the roads.
He said the Jakarta administration must coordinate with authorities from its satellite cities, given that most of the badly damaged roads lead to the outskirts.
The central government should also get involved.
“The central government and local administrations must coordinate well to map which roads fall under whose authority so that when there’s damage, it can be fixed quickly,” Yayat said.
Repairing roads by patching potholes will be useless in the long term, he added.
“There should be a clear road repair program with high standards so that the roads last longer and aren’t so easily damaged again,” he said, calling the current method a waste of money.