INDONESIA plans to build the world’s longest suspension bridge across the earthquake-prone Sunda Strait, passing within 50 kilometres of the active Krakatoa volcano.
The bridge, traversing 30 kilometres, will link Indonesia’s main islands of Java and Sumatra at an estimated cost of $12 billion.
The governors of Java’s Bantenand Sumatra’s Lampung provinces have signed a memorandum to begin designing the bridge with a construction company, Artha Graha, which is headed by one of Indonesia’s richest and most colourful tycoons, Tommy Winata.
Mr Winata is renowned for his close ties to the former president Soeharto, and links to the business interests of senior military figures. He has large investments in entertainment establishments around Jakarta’s Chinatown.
The bridge would link Java’s Merak Port with Bakauheni in Sumatra, passing through the islands of Ular, Sangian and Prajurit. At 70 metres high, large ships would be able to pass underneath.
Experts said the bridge was technologically feasible, but extensive and expensive safety measures would be essential to withstand earthquakes. Several quakes measuring more than seven on the Richter scale have struck waters off Sumatra in recent weeks, and a stronger quake caused a massive tsunami off the island’s west coast in 2004.
A senior design consultant with the Artha Graha consortium, Wangsadinata Wiratman, said flexible construction materials would be used to protect the bridge against earthquakes of up to nine on the Richter scale, based on the planned Messina Strait Bridge in Italy. The Italian bridge was to have boasted the longest single suspension span in the world – nearly four kilometres – but the project was abandoned last year because of concerns about rising costs and earthquakes.
The Sunda Bridge would sit on the “Pacific ring of fire”, the meeting place between the Asian and Australian plates, which is the most earthquake- and volcano-prone region in the world.
Construction English/Tiếng Anh Xây Dựng