The dream of driving through the entire Java island only on a tollway is getting closer as a new section of the Trans-Java Road opened last month in the Solo area.
The Kartasura-Sragen toll road section, part of the Solo-Ngawi highway in Central Java, was be officially opened last month. The toll road is part of the Trans-Java Road which will ultimately connect Banten to Banyuwangi, on the way to Bali, on a length of over 1,167 kilometres. Some 600 km were already opened to the public in early 2018.
Integrated to the Trans-Java Road, the Solo-Kertosono Toll Road (Soker Toll Road) has a total length of 177.12 km and comprises two segments, segment Solo–Mantingan–Ngawi and segment Ngawi–Kertosono. The length of Solo–Mantingan–Ngawi toll road is 90.1 kilometer. The opening last month of the Kartasura-Sragen section means that 90% of the new Solo-Ngawi Toll Road is now completed.
The road is helping improving traffic condition in this very important traffic area of Central Java. Cars now could go directly from Yogyakarta, Semarang or Salatiga to Sragen and Ngawi. Previously, they needed to pass Solo (Surakarta), which generally added approximately an hour time. The road was opened just ahead of the celebrations for the end of the Ramadan (Hari Raya or Idul Fitri) which generally translates by over 700,000 vehicles passing through Solo.
Talking to the Jakarta Post, Sri Baskoro, Head of traffic at the Surakarta Transportation Agency, said it was hoped the Solo-Sragen route could reduce the density of vehicles passing through Surakarta. He is optimistic that traffic congestion will be reduced by up to 20 percent with opening of the toll road.
Solo authorities believe that the toll road would also help boost Surakarta as a tourist destination, rather than only as a transit city.
Surakarta had a lot to offer, including food, culture and tourist attractions such as traditional Javanese Palaces and ancient homes. The city has been in recent years neglected by travellers as it is often only perceived as a transit point between the two bigger cities of the region, Yogyakarta and Semarang.
The toll road is currently free of charge but this will soon come to an end as e-payment machines have been installed.
The entire Trans-Java Toll Road is due to open in its entire length in 2019. And this might be a reality as 2019 is a year for presidential elections in Indonesia!