Plans to Build New $33 million Bridge After Disaster
Markus Junianto Sihaloho
Indonesian authorities plan to leave the Mahakam II Bridge as it is — a pile of twisted metal and concrete lying across the Mahakam River — to serve as a memorial to the estimated 39 people who lost their lives when the poorly made structure collapsed.
“I will turn [the bridge] into a museum because the tragedy happened there,” Kutai Kartanegara district head Rita Widyasari said at the House of Representatives on Thursday.
She said the memorial was to remember the victims and those who survived the East Kalimantan disaster on Nov. 26.
“There are many sad and touching stories.”
She said the district government had also begun the planning process to build a new bridge, to be located 12 kilometers from the mangled remains of the old bridge.
The cost of the proposed project was Rp 300 billion ($33.3 million), she said.
Rita also denied reports that the Mahakam II Bridge was often struck by ships, saying they were unsure why the structure had failed so spectacularly.
The comments came as the official death toll increased to 20 people, with a further 19 missing, feared dead.
The company responsible for building the bridge, state-owned Hutama Karya, meanwhile, has continued to absolve itself of any responsibility for the accident, saying it was only legally liable for the structure for the first 180 days of its life.