Heavy vehicles will be temporarily banned from travelling on a stretch of the Colombo-Avissawella road that is now under repair.
According to Road Development Authority (RDA) general manager R. W. R. Premasiri, a 21-metre long, 9-metre wide segment of the road was washed away at Pahala Hanwella, about half a kilometre from the town, last Saturday. The main water supply line to Colombo was breached at the same spot.
One lane of the road will be opened this week, Mr. Premasiri said. However, heavy vehicles will not be permitted along this route. “It would take another two to three weeks to complete the work on the road,” he said.
He said the RDA faced unforeseen problems when repair work got under way. Boulders put in place to build a retentive wall to check soil erosion were submerged in water, and the RDA had to increase the quantity of boulders to complete the job. The boulders were necessary for a permanent solution to the problem, said Mr. Premasiri, adding that work on the preventive wall had to be completed before work on the road could begin.
Sand mining in the area was another big concern, Mr. Premasiri said. “The police have being instructed to put a stop to sand mining in critical areas along the Kelani River. The Divisional Secretariat has issued permits for such activity, but people have being misusing these permits, causing a serious problem in the area,” he said.
Water Board general manager Lal Premnath has once again appealed to the public to use water sparingly to ensure an uninterrupted supply over the next few days.
Work on the pipelines can be started only when work on the road is completed, Mr. Premanath said.
“We are managing for now. The effect on the water supply has been minimal. There has been only a three to four per cent shortage of water in Colombo,” he said.