The feasibility study for a Rp 125 trillion ($13.9 billion) bridge to span the Sunda Strait will start this year and take two years to complete, the government said on Tuesday.
Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto said the government would team up with private company Bangungraha Sejahtera Mulia to form the Banten-Lampung consortium and work on the project.
“In line with a presidential regulation on the Sunda Strait … the initiators will complete a feasibility study within 24 months,” Djoko said after a coordination meeting on the project.
He said the government and the Banten-Lampung consortium would sign an agreement on the feasibility study next week. The basic design and estimated budget are also expected at the end of the two years.
Bangungraha Sejahtera Mulia is a subsidiary of Artha Graha Networks, a business conglomerate that is owned by tycoon Tommy Winata.
The government said that one of three state-run construction companies — Wijaya Karya, Adhi Karya and Waskita Karya — would participate in the project but did not say which.
Djoko said construction of the bridge was expected to start in 2014.
The minister added that the Banten-Lampung consortium would receive special treatment in the tender process because it was the initiator of the project.
Possible special entitlements include the right to match the lowest bid and a 10 percent tender preference, meaning that if the government conducts a tender for the project, it will have a 10 percent advantage over other competitors.
Djoko estimated the bridge would cost Rp 125 trillion.
“We have met with experts from Japan and [South] Korea 11 or 12 times and held discussions and seminars on this, and we concluded that it is technically very possible to build the bridge,” he said.
If it is completed, the 30-kilometer bridge would connect the islands of Java and Sumatra, which between them are home to 80 percent of Indonesians.
It is hoped that the bridge will be operational by 2020, although the government will first have to find enormous amounts of capital for the project if it is to ever be realized. The government has said that the bridge project is likely to be financed under a partnership between the government and private sectors with both domestic and foreign investors providing capital, but so far it has yet to reveal the identity of any possible individual participants.
About 20 million ferry passengers and 1.7 million tons of cargo crossed the Sunda Strait in 2006, and the figure is predicted to at least double by 2020.
According to an earlier study, the bridge is expected to boost Banten’s economic growth by 2 to 8 percent, and Lampung’s by 4 to 11 percent.