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Sunday, 24 June 2012

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Road network to be strengthened

*Easier access to BIA

*Less traffic congestion



President Mahinda Rajapaksa inspects a model of the Outer Circular Hhighway

Sri Lanka would add the second highway to its road network by June 2013 and the outer circular highway would be linked to it, enabling a passenger from Galle to reach the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake in just one hour and 50 minutes.

It would be a major investment attraction to the South as exporters would get the opportunity to transport their products quicker to the airport, bringing them additional savings. It would also reopen the South for more foreign direct investments.

In addition, the opening of the Colombo-Katunayake highway would bring in more tourists to the South and most importantly, help tourists to stay longer in the hotels, bringing more revenue to the hotels as well as to the community.

Bringing the BIA closer to Colombo, creating a high mobility link between the city of Colombo and the BIA and most importantly the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway would promote the outward migration of public from Colombo.


An artistís impression of the Kadawatha interchange

Residents near Katunayake and near the exit points on the highway are already reaping the benefits as they have got better prices for land. Rentals have also increased for apartments, houses and shops, projecting the economic benefits of the highway. Many employment opportunities too have been created.

Improving the mobility needs of the industrial development areas in the vicinity and the associated container traffic is another key benefit from the project.

Decongesting the existing Peliyagoda and Puttalam Road (A3) and allowing it to be used as an alternative road with lesser traffic is another advantage.

Expressway network

The expressway network, which will lead to a high-standard limited access road network centring the capital and around the country, will assist the development of economically weak regions by encouraging growth in manufacturing, tourism, fisheries and agriculture.

Ministry of Ports and Highways officials said the construction of the highway will be on a loan facility extended to the Government by the People's Republic of China.

The project commenced on August 2009 and is expected to be completed by mid-2013. The construction cost of the project is estimated at US$ 292 million. Of the project cost, US$ 248.2 will be a loan facility from the People's Republic of China while the balance is to be met out of local funds.

"Even though Sri Lanka has an extensive road network, most roads were built about 50 years ago and do not possess the capacity to cope with the increasing traffic volumes. Therefore, there is an urgent need to improve the capacity and efficiency of the road network to meet the growing transport requirements of the country and avoid the road network becoming an impediment to development," officials said.

The Colombo-Katunayake Expressway, which runs from the New Kelani Bridge and ends at the access road to the Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake (Canada Friendship Road) is 25.8 Km in length.

The Expressway consists of six and four lane sections of 33.5m and 26 m width respectively. It has been designed for speeds of 80Km/h and 100 Km/h.

Travel time reduced

The travel time from Colombo to Katunayake is expected to be reduced to 20 minutes with the inauguration of the Expressway.

There will be four interchanges on the Expressway at the following locations: New Kelani Bridge Interchange, Peliyagoda Interchange (enabling the Colombo-Kandy traffic to enter the highway), Ja-Ela Interchange and at the end point at Katunayake. There will be about 40 bridges and 88 box culverts on the Expressway. Work on about 27 bridges is already in progress while about 50 box culverts have been completed.

The 480 m long viaduct, which is being constructed near the Ceylon Fertilizer Company premises, Hunupitiya will be a monumental construction on the Expressway. A similar structure is to be constructed from the Katunayake junction towards the airport.

There will be two link roads at the Peliyagoda and Ja-ela Interchanges providing linkage from the Peliyagoda-Puttalam (A3) road to the Colombo-Kandy (A1) and Tudella-Pamunugama roads respectively.


Rock filling
Construction work on the lagoon bridge in progress
Construction work on the IC bridge at Peliyagoda interchange in progress

Sea sand is used for the filling of the road embankment while soft ground treatment techniques are adopted where the ground conditions are poor.

At present, the project has completed 62 percent of the embankment filling, 95 percent of soft ground treatment work, 56 percent of the culverts and 50 percent of bridges. The overall physical progress is 45 percent.

Those entering the Katunayake highway from the Katunayake turnoff roundabout would go through an overpass and travel along the lagoon.

They would cross the Negombo-Colombo road near Kerawalapitiya where there is a major interchange where it would connect with the Outer Circular Highway.

The project initially commenced in 2003, but was halted due to lack of funds. It was then funded with local capital; now Chinese credit has been secured.

Orbital beltway

The Colombo Outer Circular Expressway would be a 29 km (18 mile) long outer circular road network that will link the Colombo-Matara Expressway with the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway.

It will provide an orbital beltway to bypass the city of Colombo and reduce traffic congestion. The project is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The highway was planned to have six tracks from Colombo to Peliyagoda and four lanes, from Peliyagoda to Katunayake.

The speed range will be 80 kilometres per hour from Colombo to Peliyagoda and 100 kilometres from Peliyagoda to Katunayake, once completed.

The first stage of the Colombo Outer Circular Road from Kottawa to Kaduwela is now in progress. The second stage, from Kaduwela to Kadawatha, is scheduled to be launched soon under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

This will connect the Southern Expressway, the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway and the Colombo-Kandy Expressway. While using the Expressways, the public can also use this road network to enter the main roads. The new Highway Secretariat at Denzil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha, Battaramulla is to be constructed with eight levels including parking space.

The project is funded by the Asian Development Bank. Construction work is in progress and has now reached level 4. This is to meet the future demands for highways.

The Outer Circular Highway starts from the Katunayake Expressway at Kerawalapitiya and ends at Kottawa, which is the starting point of the Southern Expressway.

The Outer Circular Highway will be instrumental in easing the traffic congestion in the city of Colombo.

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