Trans Papua is a breakthrough project by Indonesian government that aims to bring economic equality to West Papua. Originally initiated by the third president, B. J. Habibie, and officiated by the Presidential Regulation number 40 year 2013 by former president Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the massive road project has been started again with renewed vigor in 2014 by President Joko Widodo.
Here are five facts you need to know about this massive road project.
Twelve Roads Planned in Two Provinces
Trans Papua Road will consist of twelve major roads that cover both Papua and West Papua Provinces. Roads in Papua Province will consist of ten, and the other two roads are in West Papua Province. If everything goes as planned, the total length of all these roads will be about 2,690 miles (around 4,330 kilometers). The total length also includes boundary road that separates Indonesian West Papua with Papua New Guinea.
All the roads will connect various areas, such as Jayapura, Sorong, Enarotali, Fakfak, Manokwari, Nabire, Merauke, Bintuni, Wamena, Nduga, and many more. The roads are estimated to be finished around 2018, but it may not include asphalt layering.
Trans Papua Will Open the Mountain Route
Difficult terrains have become a longtime problem that slows down development in Papua, especially in challenging areas such as the mountains. The Public Works and Housing Ministry has stated that there will be extra focus on mountain areas, such as Wamena, Habema, Kenyam, and Mamugu.
Currently, the highest spot of Trans Papua Road is Petik Bintang Road, located in the 259th kilometer of Sorong-Manokwari road. The road is located 3,284 feet (around 1,001 meters) above the sea level. The road is still rough, and some of the spots are still dangerous because they are next to open cliffs, but it is one of the main attention in the project because of its importance.
Many people in these mountainous areas have encountered difficulties in getting important daily goods. The Trans Papua Road is expected to open smooth transportation lines for distributions.
Economic and Social Goals Inspired Trans Papua Project
President Joko Widodo has stated that Trans Papua Road project has goals in social and economy. Papua has been known for its expensive prices, even for basic goods such as staple foods and gasoline. The high prices are mostly caused by poor distribution, due to bad road conditions.
By continuing the Trans Papua Road project, the president hopes that the distribution lines for many areas in West Papua will be better. He also hopes that people in remote areas can get easier access to staple goods and gasoline. Good road system also has potentials to boost development, such as logistic routes, stores, service-related businesses, and many more.
Big Drainage System to Keep the Lake Intact
One of the biggest concerns from Trans Papua Road project is related to the environment, especially Lorentz National Park, which has earned World Heritage status from UNESCO. However, the Ministry of Public Works and Housing has coordinated with the national park to make sure that the park’s condition is not disturbed.
One of the prevention steps the government has taken is a plan to build drainage system, using composite geogrid. This drainage system will keep the water level of nearby Lake Habbena intact. The ministry and several environment institutions also work together to prevent the extinction of Papua’s endemic plant species and rainforest due to the project’s scale.
Trans Papua Road is Not the Only Development Project
Trans Papua Road is not the only massive development project by the Indonesian government in West Papua. The road is one of twenty-nine infrastructure development projects the government will conduct in West Papua. The projects include railways, ports, and air transportation development projects.
The air transportation and railways will be the next projects to be developed. The goal is to create seamless logistic lines to various areas in Papua, including those that are originally inaccessible.
How Trans Papua Helps Locals
Trans Papua Road project is still unfinished, but there have been improvements noted by locals in several areas. One of the obvious improvements is the shortened duration of the land trip between Sorong and Manokwari. Before 2016, the average duration to drive between Sorong and Manokwari was between 19 and 20 hours. The new road shortens the duration to around 15 to 16 hours.
Another improvement is shortened access for villagers to sell their harvests and goods. In South Manokwari, for example, villagers in previously remote areas such as Momi Waren District can bring their harvests and fish more easily to markets in the city. Many of the elder generations also hope that the next generations of farmers and fishermen can carry their products by proper road instead of sea, for example.
Trans Papua Road is still in the development, and the government expects the roads to be finished somewhere in 2018 and 2019. However, this project is the highlight of West Papua development plans by the government.