Taking its toll


As time equals money, the shortest and most direct route will prove to be the most lucrative. A good expressway system is essential for successful growth and development in any country. Expressway transportation is especially important when it comes to the economy. A large number of companies and corporations rely on the expedience of delivery of their goods or services over the road in order to compete in the fast-paced business world. However, due to the prevailing fuel crisis, operations have somewhat decreased on the expressway. 

When Ceylon Today queried about the situation on the expressways, Director General of Road Development Authority (RDA), L.V.S. Weerakoon said operations are ongoing with some minor inconveniences.

“These days, operations are ongoing on the expressway without any problem, but in some places, there are minor inconveniences due to the fuel problem. However, things are continuing. Nevertheless, currently the number of vehicles travelling is very less,” he said.

He said traffic has decreased to 25 per cent.

Accordingly, when the traffic decreases, the income will probably decrease to 25 per cent too. This type of situation hasn’t happened in a long time, he said.

However, he said there was a similar situation in 2019 and 2020 when Covid-19 ripped through
Sri Lanka.

The reason for low traffic was travel bans and also islandwide curfew. People were requested to stay indoors most of the time. People willingly stopped travelling for a short period of time. Therefore, there was a decrease in travelling. 

He said the most recent issue is that people do not have fuel to travel.

“Not only on the expressways, people cannot travel on normal roads either. Therefore, it is not limited to expressways, but also for all other transportation methods,” he stressed.

“If the situation is not resolved, we can expect loss of income. We can only hope that the issue would be resolved within the next couple of months,” he said.

He also commented on the loans that were taken by the Government to build the expressways.

“Loans have been taken to build the expressway. However, it is not paid with the income of the expressway. It is paid by the Treasury of Sri Lanka. We have agreed with the loaners to a system. There are certain amounts that we have to pay for a time period. Therefore, it is not an issue. The income of the expressway comes in one way and the payments are made in another way,” he added.

He also said the repayments of foreign loans have presently been paused due to the economic crisis in the country. Anyhow, the loans that have been taken to build the expressway are not due yet, he explained.

Thanks to modern expressways, there is hardly any place that is not accessible today. Trips via expressway mean less time spent on the road and more time spent enjoying. Due to the fuel crisis, almost every sector and industry is affected horribly. We can only hope that the fuel crisis will be over soon. Otherwise, the country will not be able to raise its head again.

The Government must make sure that the citizens of Sri Lanka are well taken care of. Therefore, there have to be methods or mechanisms to obtain fuel without any inconvenience. And the Government should be responsible enough to check whether the already introduced methods are being used properly. 

By Aloka Kasturiarachchi