Papua land is one of the hidden gems in Indonesia with its wild and remote nature. It is also to say that many parts of Papua and West Papua are, unfortunately, still untouched thus under-developed ones. The ruling government considers infrastructure development as one of the keys for improving development in this little paradise on earth.
Those development efforts have targeted many remote areas in these two provinces. Road and bridge construction offers more accessibility from one region to another.
Youtefa Bridge is one of the recent development programs completed in Papua province. Having a prior name Holtekamp, this bridge reflects the government commitment to accelerate the Papuan’s welfare. Let’s figure out more about the new name, location, and its achievements.
The Longest Bridge in Papua
Located in outside the capital city of Papua province, Jayapura, Youtefa Bridge crosses a bay that connects to surrounding districts and neighboring border.
Back in May 2015, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had the groundbreaking initiation for this bridge construction. It is also a part of the main elements in the mega project of 4.325 km Trans-Papua Highway infrastructure development.
This brand new bridge is 732 m in length and 21 m in width. From the distant, you can see two large arches painted in vibrant red. This structure becomes the largest and the longest bridge in Papua due to its continuous robust arch steel with some expansion joints.
The central and provincial governments spent IDR 1.8 trillion to build this bridge (or cost about USD 128.5 million). Several state-owned construction firms conducted the project. The consortium consisted of PT. PP (Pembangunan Perumahan), PT. Nindya Karya, and PT. Hutama Karya.
It took about four years before the completion of this structure. In 2019, President Jokowi finally made an official announcement and inaugurated the once Holtekamp Bridge. The historic inauguration took place on October 28, coincided with the celebration of the Youth Pledge Day.
Along with the new bridge, the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing also built an infrastructure development of an 11-km road. It connects Jayapura to Muara Tami district and Skouw border post of Papua New Guinea.
The exact location of Youtefa Bridge is over the what-so-called Youtefa Bay. Situated on the coastline of the city of Jayapura, this bay is a cove belongs to Yos Sudarso Bay. During the Dutch rule, people called it Humboldt Bay.
Yos Sudarso Bay lies on the northern coast of Papua or the west of Papua province’s border with neighboring Papua New Guinea.
The New Name
As previously stated, the iconic infrastructure development project’s official name was once Holtekamp Bridge. However, as the bridge crosses the Youtefa Bay, the local indigenous people ask for a different name.
There is a reason behind the request. The new name, Youtefa, indeed carries its inherent meaning. According to an expert at the Papua’s archaeology, that historically particular meaning comes from the local spoken language.
He stated that Youtefa derives from the Nafri language of Nafri tribal people tribe who settle on the shores of Youtefa Bay. He further explained that yo means village (kampung), te means go, and faa also means village. Therefore, yotefa or youtefa has the meaning of “go to the village”.
Geographically, there are two villages near Youtefa Bay, namely Tobati Village (Kampung Tobati) and Enggros Village (Kampung Enggros). Therefore, the interpretation for youtefa is as going from Nafri Village to Tobati Village and Enggros Village. The characteristic of inhabitants in those villages is living in stage houses above the waters.
Before Youtefa Bridge picked as the new name, there were five proposals, one of them was Hamadi Bridge. The final decision for this infrastructure development follows the local wisdom of the input of the indigenous figures.
The apparent achievement is less travel time from one place to others. Youtefa Bridge successfully reduces the previous time of 1.5—2 hours from Jayapura to Skouw Border Post. Now, it only takes 30—40 minutes.
One of the primary objectives in this infrastructure development is indeed to reach out to more remote regions in Papua and West Papua in a more efficient way.
Also, it opens other opportunities, such as tourism. Youtefa Bridge has surrounding areas offering beautiful nature. The scenery of hills and bay is a great potential for water tourist attractiveness.
What is more, the Indonesia World Records Museum (MURI) awarded two records to Youtefa Bridge construction project. The first is the record of delivering an intact steel frame bridge in the farthest distance. The second is the record of installing the longest intact steel frame bridge.
Last but not least, Youtefa Bridge also represents a milestone in the Papua land. It serves not only as an important symbol of unifying the nation but also as accelerating the infrastructure development, thus improving welfare in Papua and West Papua.