Accident-Prone Infrastructure Projects Suspended for Two Weeks Across Indonesia

A concrete mold collapsed at the Becakayu Toll Road project in East Jakarta on Tuesday (20/02), injuring seven people. (Antara Photo/Aprillio Akbar)

By : Amal Ganesha | on 10:08 PM February 22, 2018
Category : Business, Transportation

Jakarta. The Indonesian government said on Thursday (22/02) it will try to keep the current suspension on infrastructure projects involving elevated structures across the archipelago for two weeks only so they can still be finished on time.

The projects are being suspended for further safety evaluation after a series of deadly accidents.

Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono issued the suspension on Tuesday, following another accident earlier on the day when a concrete mold collapsed at the Becakayu Toll Road project in East Jakarta.

That was the 14th serious accident involving major infrastructure projects in the last two years.

The suspended projects include an LRT construction in Palembang, which is expected to be ready for the 2018 Asian Games in August.

Jakarta's LRT and MRT projects are also suspended.

"We're confident the suspension will only be for two weeks," the Public Works Ministry's director general for construction Syarif Burhanuddin said in Jakarta.

"The projects will have to be completed on time, because we'll have the Asian Games soon," said Syarif, who is also the chairman of the ministry's National Construction Safety Committee.

Established in January, the committee is responsible for supervising and evaluating safety practices of construction companies and ensure their occupational health and safety teams are always proactive.

"Our job is to prevent accidents from happening and to conduct investigation to find out critical failures when they do happen," he said.

According to Syarif, construction companies on average spend around 1.5 percent of their budget on ensuring safety in the workplace. He would like to see that spending to increase in the future.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has also voiced his concerns about the accidents.

"Supervision of infrastructure projects can't have any holes. Especially since we have so many projects going on at the moment," Jokowi said in a statement just moments after Tuesday's accident.

Repeated Mistakes

The contractor of the Becakayu Toll Road project where Tuesday's accident happened is Waskita Karya, a state-owned construction company.

This was the seventh incident involving the company in the last seven months.

Waskita was also in charge of another project that killed a woman in early February when the wall of an underpass near Soekarno-Hatta International Airport collapsed and trapped her inside her car.

The company blamed the accident on an unusually heavy rain, but the construction safety committee found that the wall design and construction did not comply with regulation.

"We monitor all of our projects all the time, including any accident that occurs. We update our standard operational procedures regularly and ask for input from various sources including foreign consultants and the Public Works Ministry," Waskita's operations director Nyoman Adnyana said.

"But sometime there are extraneous factors we can't do anything about, like the strong gale that caused the latest accident," he said.

The Public Works Ministry said it will sanction contractors responsible for fatal accidents, including Waskita, but only after a thorough investigation is completed.

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