It has been exactly two years for the residents in Ciputat area and everywhere around it to feel relieved with the situation of Juanda Street on the side of the line exactly in front of Ciputat Market. The traffic jam around the market has been reduced a little, although it is still there. That is common, just like the other markets it must be full of visitors and the public transportation so it causes the traffic jam. Besides the visitors, maybe it is because of the traders who sell their goods on the side of the street or the buses and the public transportation that pick up and drop off the passengers carelessly. However, even though there is still traffic jam, it is not as bad as two years ago before the building of the flyover.
Before, the traffic jam was very bad and it happened every day. The part of the street which was only 200 m long in front of the market should have been passed through for less than one minute. However, because of the traffic jam, it took about five to ten minutes to pass through it. The suffering caused by the traffic jam was aggravated by the holes in the street. Passing through that street was really like a proverb “add insult to injury”; the traffic jam was coupled with the potholes.
The double suffering which happened to anyone who passed through was ended by the building of the alternative road which passed above that road or the cool term for it was a flyover. Meanwhile, under it, which was a damaged road before, now has changed into a sidewalk. As a replacement, the street under it is widened. The widening was about 8 m on each side, right and left.
The presence of the flyover becomes the medicine for the irritation that has been experienced. The great expectation to reduce the traffic jam by the presence of the flyover is implied. “The building of the flyover started around August 2006,” said Muhaimin (40 years old), a ready-to-eat fruit and drink seller under the flyover who had already been trading there far before the flyover was built. So he knew full well about its building from the beginning until it was finished. “But it only began to be used around the beginning of 2008,” he added.
“How much money did the government spend, Sir? Did they spend billions? Have you ever heard the news about that?” I asked. “Not billions, son, this road is short. It’s less than 500 m. I heard they have spent about 800 million, but it was only for the building of the flyover, not including for the compensation of the land widening,” explained Muhaimin. “For the compensation, the land was valued at 2 million IDR per meter. For buildings and houses, the value depended on their size,” added Muhaimin.
The flyover track starts exactly in front of Ciputat Mega Mall and it ends in front of Ramayana (a department store which sells clothes). Like what Muhaimin said, the length is less than 500 m. I think the length is about a little more than 300 m and the width is about 8 m. Like what it is called, flyover, the road is definitely above, passing the road beneath it. The ascent is rather high. If you are exactly on the top of the road, the height is about 15 m. You can pass through it if you want to go to Parung, Pamulang and Ciater BSD.
The process of the building started by covering the inside of the iron, steel and concrete slabs to strengthen them so they could stand the pressure of the vehicles passing by. The excavated hole which became the foundation of the supporting poles reached 15 m deep. It took one and a half years to build it. This flyover building was the last work program of the Regent of Tangerang, Ismet Iskandar, and the building process also happened at the same time as the election of the new regent of Tangerang. Ismet Iskandar participated again in that election with Rano Karno as his deputy. That 2007 Election was once again won by Ismet Iskandar. It was a relatively short time to build a flyover. It was because of the use of the sophisticated and modern machines.
The flyover now after two years (counted from the beginning of the use of it) is still in a good condition. It still looks strong and sturdy. There was no crack anywhere that can be seen. Its asphalt is still level, smooth and has not had a hole yet. For me, it is natural, considering it’s only two years old. However, I don’t know what would happen in five years. Usually the damage to a building is visible after five years. Now, there are drawings on the thick walls that support the flyover, either they come from creative people who do not have enough space to channel their creativity or from irresponsible mischievous hands. Based on the writings, they should be from the mischievous hands because the writings are unclear and it looks like they are written carelessly (no art). They are different from the drawings created by creative people who do not have enough media to express their creativity. The latter has the concept and aesthetic value, such as the graffiti or murals which I usually find on city walls (It’s art, my man!).
Besides as the alternative way to avoid the traffic jam, the flyover accidentally produces other functions, as we can see exactly beneath it. There are many things that happen under that flyover, especially the trading activities such as the trading of shoes, paintings and pirated VCDs. There are some people who even use the end of the flyover, which should have been used as a pedestrian crossing, as a place to sell vegetables. As though they do not want to lose, the ojek drivers have their base of operations beneath the flyover too. So they make the flyover as if it is a roof which protects them from the heat of the sun and the rain.
I think it is a part of the impact of the dynamic life of urban people. It is very natural and inevitable. The competition in the city, with the heterogeneous pattern of life, is hard. Every person has their own purpose and needs so that everyone only thinks about themselves, especially in the area near the capital city. There are many people from the village who try their fortune here, including my friends. Many of my friends from my hometown are here, living and working around Ciputat Market.
After the building of the flyover, now it becomes our responsibility together to maintain and take care of it, considering it has a strategic function in reducing the traffic jam. The residents definitely expect that the flyover would still be sturdy, unbroken and timeless, but it depends on how the maintenance will be. Sometimes maintaining something becomes more difficult than building it.