Gov Anies says LRT will be ready for 2018 Asian Games, Transport Minister Budi Karya says otherwise

A progress photo in October 2017 of the elevated LRT line in Kelapa Gading posted by LRT Jakarta contractor PT Wijaya Karya.

As Jakarta gears up to co-host the 2018 Asian Games with Palembang in August, one of the pressing issues is whether athletes will be able to be get around the city using new, efficient railway transportation systems or if they’ll be stuck having to navigate the capital’s notorious traffic jams like the rest of us.

One of the most crucial infrastructure projects that will decide this is the first phase of construction on the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, which links Kelapa Gading to the soon-to-be-completed velodrome in Rawamangun, East Jakarta.

Things aren’t looking promising so far. Indonesia’s Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi recently inspected the construction of the LRT, and he doesn’t believe it’ll be ready in time for the games.

“LRT Jakarta will not be ready for the Asian Games. That is my assessment. I don’t know what the problems are. Maybe it’s about land (procurement),” he said, as quoted by CNN Indonesia on Saturday.

Budi added that, unlike in Jakarta, he’s optimistic that the LRT construction in Palembang will be ready by February 2018, and tests can be carried out by April.

In response to Budi’s assessment, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan is meeting up with Transport Ministry officials today in order to discuss how they can speed up the construction of the LRT. Taking a more optimistic approach, Anies believes that the LRT will be ready for the games.

“God willing the LRT carriages will arrive in April. And then in May to June it will be commissioned and, God willing, July will be the latest that it will operate,” Anies said today, as quoted by Merdeka.

The LRT is funded and constructed in two parts: the lines within Jakarta (including Kelapa Gading-Velodrome) are being built by the Jakarta Provincial Government, while the lines connecting Jakarta to its satellite cities Depok, Bogor and Bekasi are being built by PT Adhi Karya, a state-owned infrastructure construction firm.

The Jakarta LRT construction began again under former Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo’s term in 2015 following lengthy legal issues with previous tender winners. When completed, the LRT will link up with other rail-based transportation systems like the existing KRL Commuterline and the MRT, the first phase of which is estimated for completion in early 2019.

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