Sunday, April 12, 2009

Southern Expressway ready by 2011

The first stage of the Colombo - Matara Expressway (up to Galle) will be completed in July 2010 and the total project would be ready by 2011.

Total length of the expressway would be 126 kilometres, which is 34 kms less than the existing Colombo - Matara highway.

The expressway costing Rs. 84 billion is Sri Lanka’s biggest development project in history(nop Colombo south harbour) and is also the first access controlled expressway (EW) in the country.

Design speed of the project starting from Kottawa on Highlevel road and ending at Godagama in Matara is 120 kilometres per hour.

“One of the biggest advantages of the project is that a motorist would be able to reach Matara in just one hour and twenty minutes and Galle in one hour,” said Project Director, Southern Transport Development Project (STDP), S. Meihandan.

The EW is a four lane dual carriageway with eleven interchanges with toll gates and one rest area in Bentota with a 1.5m wide centre median with a cable barrier.

The access to the expressway would be from Kottawa on High Level road and from Kahathuduwa, Gelanigama, Dodangoda, Welipenna, Kurundugahahetekma, Nayapamula, Pinnaduwa, Deegoda, Weligama and Godagama on Matara Akuressa road.

There would be 153 underpasses and 27 overpasses as well. The EW would also be linked to the Colombo - Katunayake EW and the proposed Colombo - Kandy EW.

He said the EW was originally planned to be a two lane expressway and it was converted to a four lane anticipating the future demand. “We estimate that the Southern expressway would be sufficient to meet the demand for another 25 years.

There is provision for two additional lanes for the future,” he added.

Two Special ambulances and a fire brigade would be assigned for the Expressway in case of an emergency.

Commenting on the proposed ‘toll’ (TM) he said that the STDP, hopes to charge a toll of Rs. 3 per kilometer from Cars, Rs. 6 from Vans, Rs. 9 from Buses and Lorries and Rs. 12 from Container Trucks.

A toll card is also planned for regular users. No motor bikes or three wheelers would be allowed in the EW.

Japan International Co-operation Agency, (JICA) Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government would fund the project.

The main objective of the project is to assist the development of economic activities of the Southern Province by encouraging growth in industries such as tourism, fisheries and agriculture.

Another advantage would be the reduction of fatal and non-fatal accidents (Most of the present victims are pedestrians and cyclists) in the A2 highway. Security against potential tsunami impacts between North and South on the Western Coast has also been considered. Land acquisition and resettlement has been substantially completed. Post resettlement activities such as income restoration, home gardening development and environmental monitoring are in progress.

He said that nearly 1340 families were displaced and Rs. 4.57 Billion had been paid as compensation so far.

Commenting on new technology the project director said that application of Compact Vacuum Consolidation and heavy tamping methods to treat soft soil areas were introduced.