Banda Aceh. The first toll road in the Indonesian westernmost province of Aceh was officially opened on Tuesday as part of a massive infrastructure project covering the whole Sumatra Island.
The new toll road between the Sultan Iskandar Muda Airport in Blang Bintang district and the town of Indrapuri is only 13.5 kilometers in length, but it’s only the first part of the 74-km provincial toll road project.
Eventually, the toll roads in Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra will be linked to those of other provinces on the island under the TransSumatera project, which extends for 2,765 kilometers to be completed in 2024.
"Hopefully the new infrastructure will trigger new sources of economic growth, new business opportunities and expansion of the existing businesses for the Aceh economy, and certainly we hope it will create as many jobs as possible,” President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said when inaugurating the toll road.
He said land clearance for the whole 74-kilometer toll road in the province has reached 86 percent since the project began in 2018.
"That’s very fast and the construction can catch up. If other provinces can follow suit, all toll roads can go into full operational faster," the president said.
Jokowi said the TransSumatera project can create 296,000 direct jobs.
He said his government will continue to build key infrastructures especially in less-developed regions to boost their economy and increase Indonesia’s competitiveness.
The ongoing coronavirus outbreak will not stop infrastructure development, he said.
"Under this current condition, infrastructure development becomes one of the strategies to accelerate the economic recovery," Jokowi said.
The Aceh toll road construction involves state-owned companies Adhi Karya and Hutama Karya.
"We prioritize this section of the Aceh toll road because it provides access to the airport. This is very important to stimulate other sectors such as tourism to recover quickly," State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir said.