Colombo’s scenic Marine Drive is a bustling hive of activity. Stage 3 of the project got underway on May 3 and men and machines are at work through the day and into the night to meet their deadline of May 19.
The Road Development Authority (RDA) has assigned one team to start on the road from Glen Aber Place towards Kollupitiya while another team works from Station Road, Kollupitiya towards Glen Aber Place. A third team has been assigned to start work from near Sellamuttu Avenue, midway between the two points.
The original plan was for the Marine Drive to extend from Galle Face up to Dehiwela. Stage One of the Marine Drive was from Ramakrishna Road, Wellawatte to Melbourne Avenue in Bambalapitiya. Stage Two was from Melbourne Avenue to Glen Aber Place. These were completed several years ago. Now the current Stage Three is working on the stretch from Glen Aber Place to Station Road, Kollupitiya where it will connect up with Galle Road.
This is the 1.8 km four lane stretch now being constructed, says Director Works, Road Development Authority W.A.K. Bandara.
The project is being handled by the Project Office at Pita Kotte. Director of the Project Office established in 2005, Shirani Abeywickrama said they are working round the clock to meet the deadline. However, there are two houses still blocking the progress of the road. One house owner is protesting about compensation and has appealed to the Board of Review.
Once these issues are settled, they will try to complete the road fast, as the project estimated to cost Rs 100 million has dragged on for many years.
One resident who owns a house at Kollupitiya says that the road reservation for the Marine Drive has been in existence for over a hundred years and is indicated on their deeds. The boundary wall at the end of his property was demolished a long time ago and the reservation area acquired. The owners have been asked to come to the RDA with various documents to get the compensation due. An official from the Lands Department of the RDA says the rate of compensation varies according to the valuation of the land concerned.
The Chief Engineer Projects, Colombo said clearing of the lands started six months ago. About 95% of the compensation has already been paid though one or two buildings are holding up work. They are now doing the road and provision is being made for the street lights.
The drains and pipe lines will be done along with the walkway. “The Water Board will lay the pipe lines when the walkway is done. It would not affect the roadway,” he said. Designs are now being worked out for the fourth stage, which is from Ramakrishna Road, to Dehiwela. Future plans will include the stage from Station Road to Galle Face which will no doubt go a long way towards easing traffic congestion in the city.