Over the last few weeks, news has hit the headlines that drivers in Canggu are creating new shortcuts through farmland in desperate bids to avoid the area’s prolific traffic. Earlier this week Head of the Public Works and Spatial Planning Office, Surya Suamba, confirmed that upgrades to the raids in Canggu, Bali are scheduled for 2023.
Yet, local people fear it is a case of too little too late. With this in mind, local farmers have applied to the local government for permission to complete road upgrades themselves.
It is commonplace for villages and larger communities in Bali to take care of the maintenance of their own roads and even infrastructural developments. This is often why communities feel aggrieved when taxi drivers from other areas use the roads that they have funded as pick-up and drop-off zones.
This has even resulted in some communities creating independent toll systems to ensure that privately funded roads can be well maintained. Nevertheless, farmers in Canggu are taking a proactive and pragmatic approach to the issues of moped drivers creating new shortcuts through their farmland.
Farmers who have been using thin, muddy pathways to access their rice paddies are having their farm-access-only trials adopted by local and tourist drivers alike. This has led to a steep rise in the number of crashes, accidents, and moped careering off the ‘roads’ and damaging profitable rice crops. Now farmers in Banjar Tegal Gundul have approached the governing authorities to gain permission to build a proper road through their farmland to help ease the growing traffic issues.
@tee.a.gardner Replying to @motogans #canggu ♬ Motorcycle – Major Cash
The 65-year-old village leader and local farmer, I Nyoman Lendram, known as Pak Suan, has told reporters of his plans to upgrade one key farm track into a 5m wide road. He told reporters how, as a child, the thin farm track known as Mango Alley, or the Batu Capture Route, was roughly concreted by a village elder but has not been maintained.
In light of the increasing number of vehicles attempting to drive down Mango Alley, Pak Suan has spoken to neighboring farmers to ask their permission to turn some of their productive land over to become a new road. The plan is to turn the 300m stretch of Mango Alley into a 5m wide tarmac road.
@kkarolann Traffic i like it #indonesia #canggubali #traffic ♬ It’s a Beautiful Day – Evan McHugh
Pak Suan said that he and the farming community have already completed an assessment and created a construction plan. They have presented their project plans to the Tegal Gundul Banjar Service Office and other community stakeholders.
Speaking on behalf of the Tegal Gundul Banjar Service Office, Wayan Suryanta, “The plan is to widen it to 5 meters from top to bottom, and we have asked the land/rice field owners to give it away free of charge, and they agreed”. The project proposal has now been handed over to the Badung Regency Public Works and Public Housing Service. The PUPR would ultimately complete the construction of the new road.
Banjar Tegal Gundul is now awaiting orders from the PUPR Badung, but it seems likely that the works will go ahead in the near future. Speaking earlier this week, the Head of the Public Works and Spatial Planning Office, Surya Suamba, said, “later in 2023, we will arrange drainage and sidewalks [in Canggu]. This arrangement has also been included in the 2023 [budget]”. However, no prospective dates have been given.
While many will praise the local community for tackling the issue head-on, others will be reticent to share their support. In recent weeks environmental groups have spoken up about the impact tourism development has on the landscape, with the number of natural disasters in Bali increasing. Heavy rains on Monday and Tuesday flooded communities in West Bali and Nusa Penida.
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