Feasibility study by the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) recommends to build a tunnel between Merak and Bakauheni to replace ferry route connecting Java with Sumatra. Cost around US$4 billion, 50% cheaper than a long bridge across the Sunda Strait. ITB to prepare design within three years. Project could start in 2006. 48/02.Funding for the twin-tube tunnel that will connect Java and Sumatra across the Sunda Strait will come from the government and private parties. The tunnel is to span 33 km and is located 40 m below the seabed. It will be 8.5 m wide and 6.6 m high. Potential investors include state-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina, state telecommunications company PT Telkom, state gas company PT Gas Negara, state electricity company PT PLN, telecommunications company PT Indosat, state-owned train operator PT KAI and coal mining company PT Bukit Asam. Several undisclosed consortia from Europe and China have also expressed interest in investing in the project. A feasibility study, which will take two years, is to be conducted soon. The tunnel is expected to be finished by 2015. The strait between Java and Sumatra is one of the busiest sea routes in the country. Some 13 to 20 million people cross the Sunda Strait each year, and this figure is expected to grow. By 2020, the number of cross-strait travellers is estimated to reach 40 million. Cost estimated at USD1.5-2 billion for each tube. Visit www.nusantaratunnel.co.id 19/04.