Lanka’s longest tunnel takes shape at Ramboda
A tunnel is being constructed on the A5 highway
on the Peradeniya-Nuwara Eliya road via the Ramboda Pass, marking
a milestone in the annals of Sri Lanka’s highways.
The A5 highway constructed by colonial engineers
for transport of their tea and coffee to the metropolis has stayed
the test of time intact. But with centuries gone by, it is now time
for the locals to improve the road network in the hill country.
|The new tunnel under construction
The new tunnel is 220 metres in length and seven
metres wide with a height of 5.6 metres.
Preparatory excavation has been almost completed,
according to engineer Nimal Ranaweera.
Nuwara Eliya, located among the salubrious mountain
region is considered a health resort and a place for holidaying.
As the traffic was very high it has necessitated the new construction,
added Mr. Ranaweera.
Care has to be exercised in any improvements to
the roadway as its historical importance should be maintained. The
original idea to construct a bridge had to be given up as the work
entailed greater difficulty. Hence, the Road
Development Authority (RDA) decided to construct this tunnel
at Thawalantenna as the answer to the traffic congestion.
During colonial times, Thawalantenna was a hive
of activity due to travellers taking a much needed rest. The Ramboda
Pass on the Colombo-Nuwara Eliya highway is today a bottle neck
due to heavy transport needs.
|The engineers at the mouth of one end of the
longest tunnel in the island
The state has allocated Rs. 2,100 million to improve
the 70 km stretch from Gampola to Nuwara Eliya. The tunnel construction
is expected to cost around Rs. 200 lakhs. The new tunnel would provide
for the passage of two vehicles in opposite directions. It will
be the longest and broadest highway tunnel in Sri Lanka.
Two beautiful and scenic Divithura ella and Punaoya
ella falls mark the beginning and the end of the new tunnel. More
than the locals the foreigners too would enjoy its scenic beauty
with the Ramboda Falls at one end.
|The existing Ramboda Pass
According to engineer A. Diwulgastenna, mining
will be from the two ends at Gampola and Nuwara Eliya with a three
metre rocky area to be mined per day. The completed tunnel will
contain telecommunication facilities, fire fighting equipment and