High road to the Highways
There had been a revolutionary development in
the urban and rural road network system of the country during the last
nine years after President Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed duties. The country
became the hub of transport in South Asia as it had developed three
Southern, Katunayake and Outer Circular Highway. Today a massive road
development projects have been launched by the Highways, Ports and
Shipping Ministry to realize the promises made in the Mahinda Chintana
Manifesto paving the way for Sri Lanka to emerge as the Wonder of Asia.
Highways, Ports and Shipping Minister Nirmala Kotelawala, his Secretary
Ranjit Premasiri and Ministry staff have been working tirelessly to
bring about a safe, effective and qualitative road network that suits
the needs of the country.
Highways and road development is a vital area in the Mahinda Chintana
Policy framework. There can be no development in any country without an
efficient highways and road network. For mobility in villages or towns
it is essential that a proper road network exists. Therefore, President
Mahinda Rajapaksa took necessary steps to uplift the highways and road
sector investing generously in the field.
The development goals for an accelerated economic growth and to raise
living standards of the people expected through the programmes initiated
nine years ago, in Sri Lanka following the "Mahinda Chinthana" policies
and strategies, had been well synchronized and in coherent with the
Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of the United Nations. Sri Lanka is
one of the few countries that achieved MDG goals thus far and it was
able to achieve the per capita income up to US $ 3,280 in 2013.
To support the acceleration of economic growth, reduce structural
poverty and generate productive employment opportunities at a rapid
rate, as a means of ensuring social justice is one of the salient
features in the "Mahinda Chinthana Idiridekma" policy guidelines.
Therefore, the Ministry of Highways, Ports and Shipping as a leading
government organization in the field of infrastructure development, has
a bounden duty to formulate its plans and strategies to achieve this
goal by constructing new roads and rehabilitating the existing road
infrastructure. Hence the actions taken by the Ministry to improve the
country's road network including the Provincial and Rural roads,
following the 'Mahinda Chinthana' policies and strategies, have
contributed to a greater extent in paving the way forward for a better
future for the people of Sri Lanka.
The establishment of peace in 2009 had exploited an enormous economic
potential in the Eastern and Northern provinces.
Therefore special emphasis had been given to rapidly improve the road
network in the Eastern and Northern provinces under the 'Negenahira
Nawodaya' and 'Uthuru Wasanthaya' programmes respectively. This has
helped to unleash the untapped economic potential in those regions.
Roads, are considered as the backbone of the transport sector of the
country. National Highways carry more than 80% of traffic in Sri Lanka.
Therefore Roads need to be better constructed and properly
maintained. Since there is limited funding coming to this sector through
the private investments, the Government needs to finance this sector
through local and foreign sources. It is also imperative that the road
sector organizations should be properly managed, coordinated, developed
and maintained at optimal costs. These organizations operate programs to
facilitate better and effective transport systems, which meets the
aspirations of the public.
The Ministry is responsible for the formulation of national policies,
implementation of strategies and monitoring the performance of the road
sector programs, improving and maintaining the national road network in
order to achieve the socio-economic development, ensure high mobility,
improve better connectivity and accessibility for the people of Sri
Road Development Authority (RDA) is playing a key role in
implementing road projects and maintaining of Highways and Bridges.
Sri Lanka's road network comprises of National Highways (A & B class
roads & Expressways), provincial roads (C & D class roads), unclassified
local authority roads and other roads maintained by several government
departments and state sector estate agencies. As per the current data
available up to September 2014, the total length of the National
Highways maintained by the RDA is approximately 12,329 km.
Sri Lanka, with a total area of 65,610 km2, and about 20.4 million
(Source : Central Bank Annual Report - 2013) population, is having a
road density of about 1.6 km/km2, which is much higher than that of
other countries in the South Asian Region. Although the road network is
extensive, most of the national and provincial roads were built more
than 50 years ago to cater to the traffic volume and vehicle types and
speeds that existed at that time.
Even though the Ministry has developed many thousands of kilometers
of roads during the past few years, still there is a need to make great
emphasis to maintain these roads. During the last two decades, traffic
volume and use of heavy vehicles has increased rapidly. Also, high speed
motor vehicles have emerged due to the technological advancements in the
past few decades and have created a necessity for roads with good
geometrics for safe and fast mobility.
The present Government has addressed these concerns and provided
requisite resources to rapidly upgrade the country's road network. These
improvements to the network will provide optimally designed, best
connected economically maintainable road network for the country. As the
Government expects the economy to grow by 8% to 10% within the next few
years, keeping the road network in proper condition is vital to achieve
this development target.
In spite of the heavy investment on uplifting the living standards of
the people in the country, especially in the Northern Province and
Eastern Province, the government has allocated a substantial amount of
Rs. 144.99 billion in the Ministry budget in 2014 for this endeavor.
The Government has already commissioned three expressways of
Southern,Katunayake-Colombo and first section of the outer Circular
Highway(OCH) while the construction work of the Northern expressway will
be commenced this year. Main objective of the Southern expressway
project is to assist the development of the economy of Southern Province
by encouraging growth in industries, tourism, fisheries and agriculture.
The Expressway section from Kottawa to Pinnaduwa and Galle Port access
road were opened for general public November 27, 2011. The travel time
from Kottawa to Galle reduced to approximately one hour. Construction
work of Pinnaduwa to Matara expressway section
commenced in April 2011 under China EXIM Bank funds and completed in
March 2014. Total length of this section is 31 km. There are 03
interchanges (Imaduwa, Kokmaduwa and Godagama) and 09 bridges in this
section and it has been constructed at a cost of Rs.3300 million.
Extension of Southern Expressway from Matara to Hambanthota is
identified as one of the key activity in the development of the road
network. The total length of this expressway section is 96 km .
Construction work of Colombo - Katunayake expressway commenced in
August 2009 and opened for general public October 27, 2013. The main
objective of this project is to make high mobility link from Colombo
city to Katunayake Air Port. Total length of this expressway is 25.8 km.
It has been designed for speeds of 80km/h and 100 km/h. This expressway
has been constructed as six lanes section from New Kelani Bridge to
Peliyagoda interchange and four lanes section from Paliyagoda to
Katunayake. The travel time from Peliyagoda to Katunayake has reduced up
to 20 minutes.
Outer Circular Highway
The Outer Circular Highway (OCH) to the city of Colombo is a new
expressway connecting Southern Expressway and Colombo - Katunayake
Expressway. Also it connects the other National Highways (A1, A3, A4)
radiating from the city of Colombo. Total length of this 6 lane
expressway is 29.1 km. It has been designed for speeds of 80km/h and 100
km/h. Construction works of OCH is divided into three phases as given
below. Construction of 11km long 4 lane expressway section from Kottawa
to Kaduwela and construction of Kottawa Interchange are the main tasks
of the phase I. Construction works commenced in December 2009 and
completed in March 2014. There are 03 interchanges (Kottawa,
Athurugiriya and Kothalawala), 08 overpasses, 01 underpass and 54
culverts in this road section. Kottawa - Kaduwela Expressway section was
opened by President Mahinda Rajapakse on March 8th 2014. Construction of
8.9 km long 4 lane expressway section from Kaduwela to Kadawatha and
construction of interchanges are the main tasks of this phase II of this
expressway. There are 02 Interchanges, 07 bridges and 05 overpasses in
this section. Construction works commenced in January 2011 and will be
completed in January 2015. Necessary measures have been taken to
relocate the displaced people having established two resettlement sites.
As at the end of September 2014 all soft ground treatment works and pile
foundation of structures have been completed. Also it has completed 82%
of sub structure works, 52% of super structure works and 83% of
culverts. Overall physical progress for the end of September 2014 is
Northern Expressway is one of the expressways, identified for
implementation in the National Road Master Plan for 2007-2017. The
Northern Expressway forms a part of the nation's expressway network and
will eventually join Colombo and Jaffna at the Northern tip of the
country. Framework agreement of this project was signed in May 28, 2013.
The feasibility study is being done. This expressway consists of four
stages as follows and it consists with 15 interchanges. They are Stage I
-Enderamulla to Meerigama (53 km), Stage II - Meerigama to Kurunegala
(38 km) , Stage III - Kurunegala - Kandy (expressway link to Kandy - 51
km) and Stage IV - Kurunegala - Dambulla (60 km) .Surveying,
geotechnical investigation, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and
public awareness of stage I & III of the project are completed.
The objective of the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) for
Expressways is to provide better service for the Expressway users by
providing useful and timely driver information system. This modern
electronic message system is a proven internationally accepted method
which use worldwide. This system will be installed with the financial
assistance from JICA as a Grant Project. JICA has agreed to provide
Japanese Yen 940 Million. The scope of the work involves installation of
21 Variable Message Sign (VMS) boards, 20 Traffic counters and 11 rain
gauges in Southern Expressway and Outer Circular Expressway. This
project will be completed in February 2015.
The objective of the Integrated Road Investment Programme (iROAD) is
to improve the accessibility of road network in rural areas of Sri
Lanka. An inclusive and sustainable road network is one of the key
prerequisites for long-term development in rural area. The investment
program will upgrade and maintain about 2,200 km of rural access roads,
rehabilitate and maintain about 400 km of national road corridors to
good condition and improve the capacity of road agencies. Asian
Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide financial assistance of US$
800 million and Government of Sri Lanka will provide Rs. 106 million.
Under the National Highways Network development, the RDA maintains
12,329 km of national highways and 3,883 bridges. The Provincial
Directors, Chief Engineers and Executive Engineers of RDA are carrying
out routine, periodic and urgent improvement works under the maintenance
programme. Under this programme wide range of maintenance activities
such as sand sealing, pot hole patching etc. are being attended island
wide. About 515.8 km of roads have been sand sealed from January to
September 30, 2014 through ICTAD registered contractors.
Construction of the Highway Secretariat at Denzil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha,
comprising 8 floors, was commenced in August 2010 and construction works
are ongoing. RDA decided to add two more floors to the building under
the stage III. Accordingly the Highway Secretariat Building will have 10
floors with an auditorium. Overall physical progress of construction
work is 98.5%.
Improvements from Nugegoda to Homagama (A04) road section was
completed at a cost of Rs.989 million in February 2013.
The ADB has agreed to provide additional funds for the proposed
Southern Expressway link roads under supplementary loan to the Loan No.
2767. This project commenced in February 2012 and will be completed in
January 2015. Total length of road sections is 58.4 km.
Following roads have been selected to rehabilitate under this
Land acquisition is in progress under Baseline Road improvement
project - Phase III. Under the access Roads and National Roads
Development for Special Development Projects , construction of foot
walks in Dambulla town improvement project under Greater Dambulla
Development Plan is in the procurement stage while design of the
Dambulla temple area development project was completed. Pelawatte
Junction Improvement with Signalization is in progress.
Rehabilitated Padeniya - Anuradhapura National Highway (A28) was
opened for the general public in April 8 2013 by the President.
Government of Korea provided loan through Economic Development
Cooperation Fund (EDCF) for this project. Construction works of Kanthale
- Trincomalee road section was completed. Rehabilitation of Rathmalana
to Nalluruwa junction section of Colombo - Galle Road (A002) and
Peliyagoda to Ja-Ela section of Colombo -Puttalam Road (A003) were
commenced on July 7 2013. Relocation of utilities, construction of
culverts, drains and kerbs and laying of water pipe lines are in
progress. Overall physical progress of construction work was 77.3% as at
the end of September 2014. In Hambanthota District, 302 km of roads have
been awarded for rehabilitation, widening and improvement.
Improvement of National Road network in Northern Province (NRRP)
includes rehabilitation of 512 km roads and reconstruction of bridges
and culverts in Northern Province with the financial assistance of the
EXIM Bank of China. Under this project, six civil works contracts were
completed. Among these completed projects, Kandy - Jaffna (A9) highways
was opened for general public on June 15 2013. Rehabilitation of 170 km
of roads in North Central Province and Northern Province were carried
out under this project with the financial assistance of Asian
Development Bank. Contracts were awarded in June 2011 and construction
works of these projects were completed in 2013.
Installation of traffic light system at Piliyandala and Kaduwela
junctions and improvement to Osu Uyana (Parliament end) junction is
completed. Junction improvement with signal at Miriswatta junction,
Ukwatta junction and Nawala junction is also completed and junction
under the Peliyandala bypass is in construction with signalization.
Construction of pedestrian overpass over Ekala Kotadeniyawa Road in
front of Horagasmulla School at Minuwangoda and Improvements to Pannala
Roundabout are also in progress.
Junction improvement and signalization of Walikada junction and HSBC
junction of Kollupitiya - Si Jayewardhanepura road is in progress.
Construction of HSBC road (Connectivity road from Kolluitiya - Sri
Jeyewardhenapura road to Welikada -Kohilawatte road is in progress.
Signalization of Palawatta junction is in progress.
The China Development Bank (CDB) provided US $ 152.8 million for the
rehabilitation of roads identified under Rehabilitation & Improvement of
Priority Roads Projects (PRP- I).
Rehabilitation of 179 km of roads, construction of a new flyover and
bridges are included in this project.
The China Development Bank provided US $ 500 million loan amount for
Rehabilitation & Improvement of Priority Roads Projects (PRP- II) .. 24
civil works contracts were awarded for the improvement and
rehabilitation of 476.5 km of national highways and 115 km of Provincial
roads. Construction of two new flyovers and the reconstruction and
widening of bridges on two roads also included in the programme .
Twenty two contracts were awarded as at the end of September 2014
under the Government Guaranteed Local Banks Funded Road Rehabilitation
Project .This project and all these projects are funded by the local
banks . The Government received US$ 60 million from the Saudi Fund for
Development (SFD) to rehabilitate and improve six road sections of 79 km
of total length. Estimated cost for the project is Rs. 6,625 Million.
Road Network Development Project (OFID) includes rehabilitation and
improvement of approximately 64 km of national highways and the
reconstruction of Bridge No.3/2 on Polgahawela - Kegalle road. Following
four contracts have been awarded for immediate implementation and
balance will be implemented.
The Government received US$ 50 million from the OFID fund to develop
national highways in Colombo District. Part of this loan will be
utilized for payments of widening of Nawala Bridge on
Narahenpita-Nawala-Nugegoda Road. Overall physical progress is 31.8% as
at the end of September 30,2014.
Chinese Development Bank has provided a further US $ 300 Million for
Priority Road Project Extension (PRP III). Total road length of 199.2 km
has been selected to develop under this project. 13 contracts are to be
funded stage I of PRP III. 12 contracts have already been awarded and
the balance has to be awarded.
Total road length of 146.6 km has been selected to rehabilitate under
Rehabilitation of Peradeniya - Badulla - Chenkaladi ( A 5) Highway
Project. Project will be commenced on February 2015. Estimated cost of
the project is Rs.18,000 Million.
Scope of the Expressway Connectivity Investment Plan Project (ADB) is
to do Feasibility study and Preliminary Engineering Design of Elevated
Highways for selected three alternatives starting the end of Southern
Highway (Kottawa interchange) up to New Kalani Bridge interchange of
Colombo Katunayake Expressway. Estimated cost for the project is US $
802,400 with Rs 88,766,392. Project duration is 8 months. Expected
outputs of the project are to reduce traffic congestion of Metro Colombo
area, to reduce travel time from Kottawa to Colombo and Colombo to other
region of the country.
Under the Conflict Affected Region Emergency Project, two road
projects were implemented with the financial assistance of Asian
Development Bank. Construction works of Paranthan to Poonaryn road
(25.7km) was 28 completed.
Mankulam to Vellankulam Road (40 km) works is ongoing and overall
physical rogress is 99.5% up to 30th September 2014.
172.8 of roads were rehabilitated in three districts in parallel to
the Deyata Kirula National Development Programme 2014. Under this
project, 39.56 km of roads in Puttalam district, 107.1 km of roads in
Kurunegala district and 26.1 km of roads in Kegalle district were
As an integral part of the Road Network most bridges are being
reconstructed or rehabilitated with enhanced safety features parallel to
road development where 100 - 150 bridges are to be reconstructed
annually (permanent bridges are being constructed for existing ferries
as well as weak an narrow bridges) flyovers also have to be constructed
in location with intersections with the easing traffic congestion,
reducing delays minimizing accidents, lowering the operational cost of
vehicle and finally ensuring the safe and efficient transportation.
Under the Reconstruction of Damaged /Weak Bridges on National
Highways , 163 bridges were identified for strengthening. Rehabilitation
works of 38 bridges were completed during the year and 45 bridges were
in progress. Reconstruction of Five Bridges project in Eastern Province
was commenced in April 2011 and opened for general public on September
Objective of the Construction of Manmune Bridge across Batticaloa
Lagoon is to provide easy access to rural communities in the west part
of Batticaloa district for their social and economic needs such as
health, education, administration and transport their agricultural
products to markets.
Under this project, 210 m long concrete bridge and 2 causeways on the
west on length 195m and on the east of length 292.8 m have been
constructed. Construction works of Manmune Bridge was started in June
2012 and completed in April 2014.
Construction of low cost bridges in rural areas and quick
construction of temporary bridges in RDA roads under emergency situation
such as flood damages are the main responsibilities of Rural Bridge
Construction Division. During the year 2014, 16 bridges have been
constructed. Construction works of 52 bridges are ongoing and 18 bridges
Construction works of Veyangoda flyover was completed with the
financial assistance of Spanish Bank and opened for general public on
January 16, 2014.After constructing this Flyover, traffic congestion has
reduced in Veyangoda Town.
Estimated cost of Regional Bridge Project (Phase II) is £ 45 million
and it was funded by HSBC Bank in UK. Construction works of twenty
bridges were commenced during this year. Among these projects five
Bridges are nearly completion . Construction works at Polduwa Bridge on
Kollupitiya sri jayawardanapura road have been completed and open for
the traffic on 5th September 2014. The Government received euro 22
million from the French Government to reconstruct 46 bridges.
Construction works of 12 bridges were completed and 17 of bridges are
The scope of the Major bridges construction project of the National
Road Network project is to improve the part of the high-priority
national road infrastructure, such as construction and replacement of
the bridges on the National Highways. Initially 37 bridges have been
selected. Estimated cost for the project is Japanese Yen 15,668.00
Million. Construction works started in 2014.