Kuala Namu International Airport Hits a New Roadblock

By webadmin on 04:07 pm Dec 11, 2012
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Dion Bisara

While Indonesia’s first integrated airport is set to be operational in Sumatra in March next year, the government is grappling with a problem: it needs to acquire enough land for a 300-meter road to link Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, with the Kuala Namu International Airport.

This was the latest hurdle surrounding the project — a railway station, toll road and airport in one location — that would become Indonesia’s second-largest airport after Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

The land acquisition underscores the typical problems in the development of infrastructure projects such as roads, airports and seaports in Indonesia.

The government opted to forge ahead with the development of a regular road after postponing the construction of a toll road linking the airport and Medan due to another land acquisition problem.

But now, development of the regular road has hit a roadblock.

Wijaya Seta, head of the National Road Implementation Center (BBPJN) Region I at the Public Works Ministry, said that a committee is negotiating the price for the short section of land.

“We are constructing two lanes of road for each direction. It is expected to finish in March 2013,” Wijaya said in a statement on Monday.

Nursyirwan, a legislator at House of Representatives Commission V, which oversees transportation, public works, housing and rural development, said that he hoped the ministry, regional government and the airport operator could improve coordination to complete the project.

“Each institution knows what their duties are,” Nursyiwan said.

Kuala Namu International Airport is part of the government’s ambitious infrastructure development program to help create jobs, reduce poverty and maintain the nation’s rapid growth.

The airport, which began development last year, will cost Rp 5.5 trillion ($571 million). The central government contributed Rp 3.5 trillion while Angkasa Pura II, the state airport operator, contributed the remainder of the cost. The airport will replace Polonia International Airport, whose location in the heart of Medan limits runway lengths, making takeoffs and landings difficult.

The passenger capacity of Polonia International Airport is less than 1 million a year, while the new airport will be able to handle 8 million passengers annually.

A 62.4-kilometer road connecting Medan with Tebing Tinggi, passing through Kuala Namu International Airport, is being tendered by the government.