Meta description: The Trans-Papua Highway in West Papua and Papua is one of Indonesia’s longest highways ever constructed. What are the impacts of its construction?
Interconnectivity is one of our modern world’s greatest concerns. As technology develops further and people are getting more connected than ever, the demand for connective infrastructure, both material and virtual, increases each year significantly. In Indonesia, multiple projects have been undertaken to increase the connectivity to each province in the country to increase the living standards in each location. It is especially true in West Papua and its eastward neighbor, Papua Province!
Of course, everyone needs to eat and have easy access to different kinds of public facilities, right? For this reason, the Indonesian government has been hastening the infrastructure development in its territory, including in West Papua. To ensure that the whole island is properly connected to raise living standards, a certain Trans-Papua Highway (Jalan Trans Papua) is currently undergoing construction to ensure all parts of Papua are properly connected.
According to one popular assumption, Trans-Papua Highway itself was said to be first constructed in the 80s by President of Indonesia Suharto as a method of connecting both provinces. Previously divided into three routes (Nabire-Ilaga, Jayapura-Oksibil, and Merauke-Digul via Bupul), the highway is also said to be first constructed during B.J. Habibie’s presidency after Suharto’s end of presidency term.
Nonetheless, Trans-Papua Highway remains one of Indonesia’s longest highway routes ever built. Spanning for more than 4.330 kilometers from Sorong in West Papua to Merauke in Papua, Trans-Papua Highway is undeniably ambitious in its scope of connecting isolated locations throughout Papua into a single connected highway. Wow!
The Impact of Trans-Papua Highway
Of course, when discussing a national highway of this magnitude, we need to know the impacts that came up after the construction of this highway! Since Trans-Papua Highway is too big to be ignored, can you think of the impacts of the construction of this highway, especially to the local development both in West Papua and Papua?
To know about it further, let’s dive into it now!
Since there is a sizable number of Papuans who don’t live in the closest towns and cities, they have to depend on the nature around them to sustain their lives! Commonly, Papuans rely on their surrounding nature to look for resources to sustain their daily lives.
With the development of the Trans-Papua Highway, even Papuans who live in isolated areas in their provinces can get access to so many resources that they normally can’t get due to the lack of roads. When previously the local tribes only used the resources from the surrounding nature to sustain their daily needs, now they can sell these resources in markets for stable financial income.
Everyone wants to live healthily, and that’s a fact. For this reason, the development of the Trans-Papua Highway is especially tantamount to increasing the health rate of the citizens of both provinces.
The research mentions that both Papuan provinces have the lowest Human Development Index (HDI) rates in Indonesia, 60.44 and 65.09. Because of that, we can now see that building the highway and improving the health facilities that surround this highway is so important.
Moreover, the government should also improve its plans to expand the scope of these facilities as they can improve the life expectancy rate in all areas passed by this highway.
Access to education is one of the most important rights a human can have, and of course, all people in Papua deserve to have easy access to education!
Luckily, from 2011 to 2018, there have been improvements in the education sector because of the construction of this highway. For instance, educational facilities for basic education such as elementary schools (and equivalent institutions) have been increasing in 7 cities that are passed by the highway.
Moreover, the highway is also contributed to finally increasing the access to middle education in these locations as well! With these good results, it is with high hopes that the central government will increase the ease of access and the number of teachers in these schools so that everyone who lives near the highway will have easier access to education more than before.
As we’ve mentioned before, the existence of the highway has increased the local development rate of settlements passed by the highway. In this regard, families can benefit greatly from the highway for their welfare. How?
For instance, the fathers can sell their products to markets beyond their homes while the mothers can find new places to sell their products. Moreover, parents can easily meet their children who are having their education in larger towns and cities by using this highway, unthinkable decades ago.
While the implementation of the Trans-Papua Highway in West Papua and Papua still has its downsides in some places, it is with high hopes that the existence of this highway can significantly increase the living standards of all peoples in these provinces. We hope this article is educational for you all, and see you later!