Business Times

Major highways plan with freeways and toll roads underway

By Quintus Perera

A 10 year National Road Master plan (NRMP) from 2007 to 2917 is underway, drawn up by the Road Development Authority and planned to cost Rs 624.7 billion.

The plan includes construction of highways, widening of highways, reduction of traffic congestion, road maintenance, bridges rehabilitation and construction and land acquisition and resettlement.
Speaking at a seminar organized by The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Sri Lanka held in Colombo last week, R.W.R. Pemasiri, Chairman/Director General, Road Development Authority (RDA) said that the objectives of the Master Plan is to promote economic development of the country by taking into account the immediate and future socio-economic development plans and policies of the government.

Improvement of accessibility, facilitating mobility, reducing travel time, transport costs, meeting current and expected future transport needs and ensuring efficient utilization of assets and investments, are among other objectives.

He said the current funding trend would be: foreign assistance – 2007= Rs 19,292 million; 2008 = Rs 27,951 million and 2009 = Rs 48,163 million. Domestic funding 2007 = Rs 18,134 million; 2008 = Rs 33,464 million and 2009 = Rs 28,965 million.

The expressways and highways projects under this plan are the Southern Transport; Outer Circular highway to Colombo; Colombo-Katunayake expressway and alternate highway from Colombo to Kandy. Mr Pemasiri said that the total kilometers of these projects would work out to 280 and the total cost upto 2011 would be around Rs 224,700 million.

He said the Southern Expressway would be an access controlled toll road and toll plazas constructed at interchanges. Also there will be several restrictions to vehicle categories such as three wheelers, motor cycles, tractors, etc not being allowed and loading restrictions will be imposed.

J.Udayakumar, Chief Engineer, Sri Lanka Railways, deputizing and presenting the Development Plan of the Sri Lanka Railways on behalf of A.G. Mahanama, General Manager of Railways said that the infrastructure development priorities of the railway are construction or upgrading of the track between Kankesanthurai and Kataragama (683 kilometres) for the operation of trains at a maximum permissible speed (MPS) of 120 kmph.

He said other priorities are construction of the track from Medawachchiya to Talaimannar Pier (107 km) for operation of trains at an MPS of 120 kmph, and the construction of the Talaimannar Pier and operation of a passenger ferry service between the pier and Rameswaram in India.

He remarked that all (the railway development) depends on the political will and the financial allocation. Prof Amal Kumarage, Chairman, CILTSL made the introductory remarks.

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