Community leaders in the popular surfing destination of Uluwatu in Bali have announced plans to improve road access to tourist areas. Pecatu Customary Village leaders have confirmed that plans are in the pipeline to buy up strategic plots of land from residents to create five new access routes into the heart of the resort area. Though the development is in the planning phase, local leaders are confident that the project will be completed by 2024.
The Head of the Pecatu Customary Village, I Made Sumerta, spoke to reporters earlier this week. He outlined the reasons why upgrades to local infrastructure are so important. He shared that traffic jams in the area have begun to increase and are a cause for concern for local residents and business owners.
He confirmed that the community is being proactive when it comes to solution building and, together, has created a plan to design five new entry points into the tourist hub. Sumerta also confirmed that initial plans had been discussed with the Public Works and Public Housing Agency and Puri Jro Kuta.
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Sumerta told reporters, “The plan is to have a meeting with Prajuru, Pangelingsir Puri Jro Kuta, Badung PUPR Service. If you look at the current conditions, the area has always been crowded. This condition can certainly have an impact on activities around the area, both the community and the tourism industry.”
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He shared that in order for the plan to work, the traditional village will acquire land from residents in order to build the new infrastructure. The infrastructure upgrades not only include the widening of roads and the creation of new entrances to the tourism hub but also essential upgrades to the surrounding water management system. Sumerta continued, “The plan is only limited to discussions about the entrance and construction of culverts for waterways. This is because the access road to the area, which was previously in the shape of a basin, will be arranged so that when it rains it is no longer flooded.”
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Increased road access means more traffic and in turn demand for more parking. Pecatu Traditional Village has also factored this into the initial plans. Sumerta said “there is a 2-hectare land which is planned to be used as a parking area and also a kiosk. Our need is for [the current] kiosk to be relocated so that it is more strategic both for visits and parking.”
The announcements made by Sumerta have been confirmed by the Head of the Badung PUPR Service, Ida Bagus Surya Suamba. He told reports that discussions are underway with the traditional village. He shared that the land accusation process would be handled by the Pecatu Traditional Village and that construction and infrastructure development would be taken care of by the regency government. He added, “This is [all] still being discussed, not final. The possibility of realization is in 2024.”
The news of infrastructure upgrades in Uluwatu will be welcome news for residents, tourists, and business owners. Uluwatu is one of the most popular coastal resort areas in Bali, home to some of the island’s most luxurious hotels and entertainment venues. There are fears, however, that without upgrades to transportation infrastructure that Uluwatu could quickly become the new Canggu. An area that some would say is now as famous locally for its grid-lock traffic as it is for its beautiful beaches.
While the issue of traffic in Uluwatu is not as prevalent as in areas like Canggu, the area is not immune to long queues, especially on change-over days and when the area’s leading venues hold major events.
The dialogue coming out of Uluwatu regarding infrastructure improvements sounds positive and constructive at this stage of the process. The same could not be said for residents in Canggu back in December 2022. It was reported that the Badung Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) Office was awarded a budget of IDR 60 billion (USD 3.8 million) to widen the Canggu Shortcut and other surrounding roads.
Local reporters confirmed late last year that officials are trying to acquire 4,000 square meters of land in the area that has an estimated value of IDR 20 billion (USD 1.2 million). A settlement on the sale of the land, or compensation for acquisition, was proving to be a barrier to the project getting off the ground.
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