After suffering partial isolation for nearly one year, villages and luxury hotel resorts in the Begawan and Tiba Kauh areas north of Ubud in Bali have been "reconnected" to the rest of Bali with the formal opening of a new bridge officiated over by the Regent of Gianyar, Cokorda Raka Sukawati (Cok Ace) on December 31, 2009.
The original bridge which connected Ubud with local villages collapsed on January 11, 2009. Among the tourism companies affected by the bridge's failure were COMO Shambhala Estate, Ayung Resort, Rijasa Agung Resort, Sobek Rafting, Gangga Rafting and Gana Resort. For nearly a year some of the aforementioned tourism business were forced to detour through the Payangan Market and traverse a makeshift road passing through local rice fields, adding between 20 and 30 minutes to the travel time in either direction. A temporary wooden foot bridge where the former bridge stood permitted motorcycles and pedestrians to pass over the river, a tributary of the nearby Ayung River.
Despite earlier cautions issued by Cok Ace immediately after the bridge's collapse that the replacement of the broken bridge was expensive and a low priority in the regency's budget, local lawmakers finally came to the rescue and allocated the Rp. 3.1 billion (US$310,000) that allowed construction of a new bridge to commence in August 2009. A marathon effort permitted the bridge to be completed in just 4 months.
In his comments at the bridge's re-opening, Cok Ace thanked lawmakers for funding the project and pledged the government would repair the subak road used as an alternate route over the past year, possibly paving the side road with asphalt.
[North Ubud Businesses Isolated by Bridge Collapse]
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