Badung regency now wants the Dewa Ruci overpass project scrapped completely and replaced by an underpass linking to an elevated roadway over mangroves south to the Ngurah Rai International Airport turnoff.
Regent A.A. Agung Gede said — the underpass or tunnel would enable the Simpang Siur area to retain its character — and the Dewa Ruci statue — and was more in keeping with Balinese aesthetic and cultural requirements.
The new plan — the third so far in the mammoth project to clear up traffic gridlock on the bypass and Sunset Road in time for the ASEAN summit meeting Bali is to host in 2013 — was revealed after a meeting on Thursday between Badung officials, Bali provincial officers and the directorate general of highways, a national body.
The central government plans to solve traffic jams by building a combination overpass and underpass at Simpang Siur. Hindu religious figures signed off on the overpass proposal after talks with Governor I Made Mangku Pastika in January.
Major works, including construction of the Rp300 billion (US$33.5 million) flyover, are scheduled to commence in November. The project is being funded by the national and provincial governments and Badung regency.
Regent Agung insisted the latest proposal from Badung was a “refinement” of the regency’s own planning.
Badung head planner I Wayan Suambara said feasibility studies on an underpass had been completed in 2008 while the national proposal for an overpass was still under study.
“This means there has been no final step and therefore Badung proposes the infrastructure required be re-evaluated
The water table in the area is only 1.5 metres below ground level.
Badung also wants further talks about the proposal to move the Dewa Ruci statue. Governor Pastika has said it could be sited on the Kuta side of the existing roundabout or in a purpose-built and landscaped park nearby but north (towards Sanur) of the present site.
Dewa Ruci is not itself a religious site but a representation of a scene from the Mahabharata. There is a groundswell of public opinion against moving it.
Suambara said construction could still start next year if Badung’s underpass proposal was accepted, with an estimated construction period of 18 to 20 months.
Badung legislator Putu Parwata said this week there was still no full or long-term solution to south Bali’s traffic problems, only short-term or partial solutions — and no real proposals to deal with extra traffic congestion during construction.