Indonesia plans to build its longest sea bridge next year to connect two islands in the Malacca Strait, near Singapore - Photo: Privacy.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesia plans to build its longest sea bridge next year to connect two islands in the Malacca Strait, near Singapore, as part of efforts to develop industry and tourism in the area, the country’s cabinet secretariat said in a statement on Thursday (07/11).

The 7km bridge linking Batam and Bintan will cost as much as Rp3 trillion to Rp4 trillion (US$284 million) through a multi-year contract scheme and construction is set to take three to four years.

The bridge project was first introduced in 2005 and will be the longest in the Southeast Asian country. The government also opens opportunities for a business entity to participate in financing the project through a government-to-business cooperation scheme.

“The construction is slated to start in 2020 based on the results of technical and economic feasibility studies. Currently, the government is preparing a feasibility study and detail engineering design which are expected to be completed by the end of 2019,” said minister of public works and public housing Basuki Hadimuljono.

The construction involves three separate packages; from Batam Island to Tanjung Sauh Island along 2,124 meters; from Tanjung Sauh Island to Buau Island along 4,056 meters; and from Buau Island to Bintan Island along 855 meters.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who has secured his second term in office, is embarking on a more than $400 billion infrastructure push. His administration has also sought to market Batam, Indonesia’s only free trade zone, to investors looking to relocate factories out of China amid a simmering trade war between Beijing and Washington.

The government wants to reposition Batam as an alternative shipping and manufacturing hub to Singapore with a potential to draw $60 billion in new investment.

The bridge aims to capitalize on the expansion of neighboring Singapore’s Changi Airport with its development of a fifth terminal, which will have transport links to Bintan. Indonesia wants the bridge to reduce logistics costs, improve connectivity and boost tourism in the area.

US$1=Rp14.200

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com