The ground zero of the new state capital project Nusantara in Sepaku district in East Kalimantan. (Antara Photo/Novi Abdi-Bagus Purwa)

Indonesian Engineers Stand Up to Challenge of Building Nusantara from Scratch

BY :JAYANTY NADA SHOFA

JANUARY 16, 2023

Jakarta. Engineers from across the archipelago and different disciplines are planning to brainstorm ideas that can help with the development of Indonesia's new state capital, according to the Indonesian Engineers Association or PII.

Work is underway for Indonesia's plan to relocate its capital from the sinking Jakarta to a lush forest in East Kalimantan. But construction is still at the early stage, and Indonesia has an ambitious goal of making Nusantara a smart forest city. As the government grows more fixated on this new metropolis, PII members will be putting their thinking caps on to support the mega project later this week.   

"The new capital project has become one of the government's top priorities. Engineers do play a significant role in making Nusantara a smart forest city, and this begins with basic infrastructure development such as roads, bridges, dams, and sanitation," PII chairman Danis Hidayat Sumadilaga said at a press briefing in Jakarta on Monday.

On Jan. 20-22, hundreds of PII members will rendezvous in Balikpapan, a city in East Kalimantan that is in close proximity to Nusantara. The national conference will primarily zero in on Nusantara development. Each delegate will represent their respective disciplines, among others, architectural engineering and energy engineering. The participants are scheduled to visit the “ground zero” of Nusantara.   

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News outlet Detik reported that 29 infrastructure development-related projects -- including the presidential palace and toll road -- in Nusantara already had their contracts signed. These inked contracts were worth a total of Rp 25 trillion (about $1.7 billion), and are slated for completion in 2024. According to Danis, thousands of engineers are taking part in the said contracts: be it as supervisors, planners, or more focused on the implementation aspect. He, however, did not specify how many engineers were assigned to each contract.  

“PII engineers from Gadjah Mada University’s engineering school are involved in testing the mock-up for the presidential palace in Nusantara,” said Danis, who is also the chief of the Nusantara infrastructure development task force.

Danis told reporters that the Nusantara project saw the participation of many women engineers, who were mostly concentrated on the quality, health, safety, and environment (QHSE) aspects of the construction.   

"Engineers have made countless innovations in Nusantara development, particularly in its planning. We came up with a plan to help make sure that we would reserve 75 percent of Nusantara for green spaces. And how we found that solar would be the best option for renewable power generation in Nusantara. Another innovation is how to construct 22 flat towers for workers' dwellings within just three months using a modular construction technique," Danis said. 

According to a government timeline, Indonesia is still in the first phase of the Nusantara project. For 2022-2024, Indonesia will focus on the main infrastructure projects such as the presidential palace and the legislative building. It will work on the basic infrastructure such as water supply to serve the initial 500,000 residents. The government aims to celebrate its independence day in Nusantara in 2024. The entire capital city relocation process is expected to be completed by 2045. 

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