MRT Jakarta: The Longest Tunnel Construction in Indonesia


President of Indonesia period 2014 – 2019, Joko Widodo, called the 6 kilometer underground tunnel construction of MRT Jakarta as “a new history of transportation in Indonesia”. This underground tunnel will be the longest tunnel construction in Indonesia. Moreover, the tunnel is constructed under the main road of Jakarta, Jalan Jendral Sudirman and Jalan MH Thamrin, where tall buildings, government buildings, and skyscrapers have already standing side by side for many years along the road. Thus, constructing tunnel in this area is challenging. Being the most effective and most efficient method of construction, top-down construction methodology then carried in this project. Other than top down construction, MRT Jakarta also occupying Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) to dig through the city. TBM is first introduced in the construction of underwater railway (Channel Tunnel) linking France and United Kingdom. The TBM used for MRT Jakarta is brought by the Japanese. The machine is produced by the Japan Tunnel System Corporation (JTSC) in a special type. The type of the machine is called Earth Pressure Balance (EPB) machine. The size of the TBM used in MRT Jakarta is 6.7 meter diameter, 43 meter long, and 323 ton weight. The machine is able to excavate through 8 meter long tunnel a day. There are 4 boring machine used in MRT Jakarta. Two machines working for area under Shimizu – Obayashi – Wijaya Karya – Jaya Konstruksi Joint Venture’s contract. The other two is for Sumitomo Mitsui – Hutama Karya Joint Operation. The boring is starting from 5 meter deep below the ground degrading to 30 meter deep below the ground.


President Jokowi Widodo accompanied by Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan and MRT president director Dono Boestami inspects the underground work of MRT on December 2015. (The Jakarta Post, Wienda Parwitasari)


Serious coordination between the contractors must do every time since the work between one boring machine and the other shall have 7 days idle time to prevent a land slide. This window time is filled with other construction activities such as removing the excavated soil, construct the retaining wall, etc. The retaining wall build in this project must have a fine finished surface as it will be the permanent wall. Precast concrete wall becomes the most effective method of retaining wall for MRT Jakarta as it has smooth finish and fast construction method.


Tunnel surveyors on duty. (The Jakarta Post, Wienda Parwitasari)


MRT Jakarta is predicted to cost up to US$1.7 Billion where US$1.1 Billion comes from the Japanese Government and about 50% of it is a soft loan. Indonesian government and Jakarta government support the rest of financial of the project. PT. MRT Jakarta itself 99.99% owned by the government of Jakarta and 0.01% by Jakarta’s Regional Market (PD) Pasar Jaya.


The first phase of MRT Jakarta is aimed to finish in 2018. The worker is working on the project 24 hour non-stop in several shifts. Afterwards, the second phase of MRT Jakarta will commence. Many people throughout Indonesia is waiting for the construction to be finished and hoping that the project becoming the solution to the traffic congestion in Jakarta. Not only that, this project might also becoming a transportation revolution in Indonesia as the government of Indonesia pushing forward many infrastructure projects surrounding the MRT Jakarta construction.

Carrying out a large construction project like an MRT system in the middle of congested Jakarta is a herculean task. (The Jakarta Post, Wienda Parwitasari)


Reference; Badan Pusat Statistik Provinsi DKI Jakarta|accordion-daftar-subjek1|accordion-daftar-subjek2

Tentang MRT Jakarta. PT. MRT Jakarta. Retrieved from


Info Kontraktor MRT Jakarta. PT. MRT Jakarta. Retrieved from

Rencana Rute Proyek MRT. PT. MRT Jakarta. Retrieved from

Pramita, Dini. “APBD Tak Jelas Padahal Kontraktor MRT Dibayar Januari”. 25 March 2015. Retrieved from

MRT Jakarta, Pengerjaan Besar Proyek Tahun 2013. Shimizu Coorporation Indonesia. Retrieved from

Amindoni, Ayomi. “MRT Jakarta: Digging The City”. The Jakarta Post. Retrieved from

Trains Ordered for North-South Line of Jakarta Mass Rapid Transit System. Sumitomo Coorporation. Retrieved from

Yustono, Urip. (2016, August – October). “Pembangunan Terowongan MRT Jakarta Menggunakan Mesin TBM”. Inikindo DKI volume 66. Page 3-9

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