Jakarta. Engineers working in Indonesia’s Maluku province, one of the most seismically active parts of the world, have had to push back the completion date for a bridge project after failing to account for the impact of a fairly common local phenomenon: earthquakes.
The 1,140-meter-long “Red and White” Bridge, spanning the Bay of Ambon, was initially scheduled for completion at the end of 2015, but a magnitude 5.2 earthquake that struck the area on Dec. 29 caused a nine-centimeter shift in the bridge’s deck that engineers now have to compensate for, according to Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono.
“Even though the completion schedule is delayed, it doesn’t affect the funding [disbursement],” he said in a statement on Friday.
He added that the construction was expected to be completed by the end of January, with the bridge opening to the public in mid-February.
Earthquakes are common in the region, which lies along the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire. There were 45 earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or higher within 180 kilometers of Ambon in December alone, according to data from the US Geological Survey, including the Dec. 29 quake that was just 16 kilometers southeast of the city.
Construction of the bridge began on July 17, 2011. To date, the government has spent some Rp 773 billion ($55.9 million) on the project, which includes the cost to build connecting roads at either end of the bridge.
Maluku Governor Said Assagaff said in a statement on Friday that he hoped the opening of the bridge would help boost the economy in Ambon and Maluku in general.