Surapati Overpass, Bandung City

As Bandung’s newest icon, Pasupati cable stayed bridge (2.147 kilometers long, 21.53 meter wide) is probably quite well known among those who know this city. The stories behind it, however, may not be as familiar to those who live outside Bandung.

The name Pasupati is an abbreviation of the parts of the city that are linked by this overpass, namely Jalan Pasteur (Pasteur street) at the west side of the city and Jalan Surapati at the east part of the city, hence Pasupati. The proposed name was originally Paspati – not Pasupati. But because the word Paspati in Sundanese (the language spoken by the people of West Java) means the time of death, the name was then changed to Pasupati, which is closer in sounds to Pasopati, the name of a powerful arrow that belonged to an epics character in the Mahabaratha.

Pasupati plan was conceived 74 years ago. The 1931 Carsten document of Autostrada Program already layed out the need to build a passage way that would link the western and the eastern parts of the city. This plan was subsequently included in Bandung Master and Detail Plans of 1971, 1985, 1996, and 2003.

In 1988, Bandung municipal administration proposed the construction of the Pasupati bridge to the Department of Public Works. Following this, feasibility studies were conducted by the Bandung Institute of Technology in 1992. The construction began in 1999 and was partly funded by a loan from Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED).

The cables that support the bridge is 15.7 millimeter in diameter. The supporting cables are not symmetrical in number and in length. There are five double sets of cables at the eastern side and nine at the western side. The length of the cables at the eastern side is 55 meters, and 106 meters at the western side.The bridge tower that anchors these cables is 37.5 meter tall.

Sundanologist (expert in Sundanese culture) considers Pasopati as “Kecapi” (traditional Sundanese string musical instrument) and “Suling” (traditional Sundanese bamboo flute) bridge. The kecapi is represented by the cables that resemble the strings of this musical instrument, while the flute is represented by the impressions of holes – similar to the holes of the Sundanese bamboo flute – on the main tower. Viewed from the top, the bridge looks like a bow that is symbolic of its name (Pasupati or Pasopati is the name of a powerful arrow and the whole bridge is the bow from which the arrow is shot.).
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