It has been a long time coming, but construction has finally started on the new sidewalk at Kuta Beach in Bali. The area is one of the island’s most popular and consistently busy areas, yet, the Kuta Beach sidewalk has also become synonymous with traffic doing moped and hoards of tourists. The sidewalk will now be widened to make it easier for pedestrians to explore the area safely.
Surveying and preparations have been underway for the last two weeks but were on and off due to restrictions for the G20 Summit. Now construction is full steam ahead. Teams have started excavating the sidewalk’s vegetated banks but have left coconut palm trees intact where possible. For the most part, the sidewalk will be widened by cutting away at the verge rather than widening the sidewalk by cutting into the road.
Over the last 50 years, the land that sits just back from the shoreline on Kuta Beach has undergone a rapid transformation. The road is simply as wide as it can be without reclaiming the already eroding beach. There is such little space from the road to the front of the hotels and other buildings along Jalan Pantai Kuta that construction workers have no option but to evacuate the verges and transform them into a few extra inches of space for the sidewalk.
The Project Manager, I Nyoman Agus Sandika, told reporters, “There are several points for widening. Like the one opposite the Hard Rock Cafe, to the vicinity of the Masolah Bawa statue”. He assured reporters that the construction efforts would be completed on time and finished by December. As the high season approaches for the Christmas and new year holidays, the pressure is on.
Construction teams are also conducting thorough cleaning and maintenance throughout the sidewalk. Moss and weeds are being removed from the walls and cracks in the sidewalk. A team of five construction workers is cleaning the whole length of the sidewalk. They are using a high-pressure washer with water. Sandika stressed that no chemicals are being used. The cleaning and maintenance of the sidewalk starts at Kuta Beach Gate and continues along to Legian Beach.
The roads and sidewalks of Kuta Beach hit the headlines last month as locals became increasingly concerned that traffic and lack of parking were starting to tarnish the public image of the area. One beach-goer told reporters that the traffic and randomly parked cars and mopeds make it increasingly difficult for tourists to access the beach safely.
She said, “Conditions like this are often encountered on weekends. Visitors who use cars can take up to an hour or more to arrive in Kuta…Hopefully, it will be maintained. Along the way, there are no officers to regulate, all cars enter Jalan Pantai Kuta. There are even lots of cars parked on the side of the road. Yes, this car makes traffic jams worse”.
The Head of the Badung Regency Transportation Service, Aan Rai Yuda Dharma, told reporters that legal action would be taken against drivers who park their cars illegally in the area.
In the wake of the G20 Summit, it has been confirmed that Bali received over USD 51 million in infrastructural improvements. However, the renovations to the Kuta Beachwalk were not included in this.
Speaking at the end of the conference, Bali Governor Wayan Koster said, “The G20 Summit has brought direct and indirect benefits [for Bali]. One of the direct benefits was that Bali gained infrastructure and facility developments valued at more than IDR 800 billion from the state budget”.
Governor Koster is an avid supporter of major infrastructural developments in Bali, including the Gilimanuk-Mengwi Toll Road. Some have argued that his provincial government’s focus on the big developments have left smaller and just as important maintenance issues to go unaddressed.
Developments that received funding for the G20 Summit included I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, Sanur Port, Sampalan Port, and Bias Munjul Port.
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