Govt Seeks Investors for Serangan Bypass

DENPASAR ~ The Bali government intends to build a toll bridge connecting the southern part of Serangan island to Benoa harbor, but is seeking investors to pay for most of the construction, an official told The Bali Times.

Serangan already has a bridge to Bali, linking Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai Sanur to the northern tip of the tiny, mainly deserted island. However, with the proposed new bridge, northern-bound motorists would be able to completely bypass the Nusa Dua and Tuban areas and get to their destinations more quickly.

Made Jaya, head of Bali Planning Board, told The Times on Thursday that the government wanted construction to start this year of the 8-kilometer-long bridge, which will be 35 meters high to allow for the passage of ships, and was making available an initial Rp20 billion (US$2.2 million) from its budget.

The total cost of the project is projected at Rp700 billion ($77.5 million), with the shortfall to come from private investors, said Jaya.

Investors originally balked at the government’s plan for the toll bridge, which would see motorcycles banned and lead to a marked loss of potential revenue, but then, under pressure, the authorities decided to allow the all-pervasive vehicles to avail of the facility and investor interest returned, Jaya said.

Under Indonesian, law, investors would be allowed to operate the bridge for a maximum of 30 years before returning it to the government and would have to make their profits within that period, he said.

“Currently there are three or four investors interested in the project. They are at the stage of calculating the time and capital needed to operate the bridge,” said Jaya.

If, however, no investors came on board, the government would still go ahead with the project, he said.

“We will consider a partnership with local banks to fund the development, assuming no investors are interested. The Bali government has Rp1.2 trillion in bonds that could be used to finance the project,” he said.

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