Railway developer PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (KCIC) completed tunnelling on the 1.8km Tunnel 1 beneath the Jakarta - Cikampek toll road on December 15, The Jakarta Post reports. The tunnel is the fifth to be completed, KCIC president, Mr Chandra Dwiputra, said in a statement.

“With this tunnel completion, our tunnel drilling work progress has reached 74.94% of the total tunnel length of 16km,” he says. KCIC is planning to complete two more tunnels over the next two months.

The 350km/h line is included in the government’s national strategic projects (PSN), and will serve four main stations: Halim in Jakarta, Karawang in West Java, and Walini and Tegaluar in Bandung. The Jakarta - Bandung journey time will be cut from three hours to 45 minutes.

The project has faced a number of issues during construction. The Public Works and Housing Ministry halting work for two weeks after drainage problems caused flooding on the Jakarta - Cikampek toll road. The project has also faced land acquisition issues.

Indonesia’s president, Mr Joko Widodo, had planned to combine the Chinese-led project with the Japanese-led Jakarta - Surabaya project in order to stem the projects prolonged delays and budget overruns.

KCIC has moved back the completion date to the second half of 2021 from the initial target of June 2021, which was already two years later than the original date.

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