Johnston launches work of first section
By Nabiya Vaffoor
Highways Minister Johnston Fernando yesterday (25) launched the work of the first section of 3,279 precast concrete sections of the Port Access Elevated Highway from Ingurukade Junction to the Colombo Port City, using the precast concrete bridge technology for the first time in the country, which is going to be a four-lane highway, at a cost of Rs 28 billion. He said the travel time between Ingurukade Junction and Fort, which takes about 45 minutes now, would be reduced to five minutes once the project is complete.
The 5.3 km highway on pillars connects to the New Kelani Bridge from Ingurukade Junction, near the Kelanitissa Power Station, and extends onwards to the Colombo Port City. Construction is to be carried out by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation under the supervision of the Road Development Authority and Ministry of Highways. The Port Access Elevated Highway has five on and off-ramp facilities to provide entrances at Ingurukade Junction, near Wimaladharma building in Pettah, Aluth Mawatha entrance, Galle Face entrance and the Port City Entrance.
The project will help ease traffic congestion in Colombo’s densely populated areas, improve connectivity between the country’s expressway network and Colombo’s international port, provide better logistics services for freight operations, and facilitate regional trade. In addition, a 17-storey Maritime Facilitation Centre is to be constructed outside the port boundary to substitute for those buildings demolished to make way for the elevated highway.
It is to be built by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation on a land belonging to the SLPA with the financial assistance of the Asian Development Bank at a cost of Rs 4,099 million within 24 months. “This would streamline services of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority offices, and other offices providing maritime services would be housed in the new building, increasing efficiency by enabling people to obtain services provided by those offices under one roof.
It has been envisaged to increase efficiency by an online network that would reduce the use of paper in the new centre,” Fernando said. Among those present at yesterday’s launching ceremony were Ports and Shipping Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Rural Roads and Other Infrastructure State Minister Nimal Lanza, Secretary to the Ministry of Highways R.W.R. Pemasiri, Project Director of the Port Access Elevated Highway Project and other ministry officials.