Saturday, May 2, 2009

Colombo-Katunayake Express Highway

The Road Development Authority has decided to offer an incentive payment to the contractor who has undertaken to construct Colombo-Katunayake Express Highway if the work is completed before schedule.

Highways Minister T.B. Ekanayake told the Daily News that the completion of the Project before schedule is very necessary and he does not intend to keep the highway project lagging behind. The service to the people should be offered at earliest and that is why an incentive payment was offered, he said.

The construction of the Colombo Katunayake Expressway (CKE) will commence from next June and the Project is expected to be completed in 39 months.

Construction will be on a loan facility to be extended to the Government from the People's Republic of China. The contract sum of the project is US$ 292 million, which has been awarded on Design and Build Basis.

China Metallurgical Group Corporation from People's Republic of China will be the contractor. This is one of the largest companies in the world and is listed in the world's largest 500 companies (Fortune 500) said Project Director, (CKE) M.P.K.L. Gunaratne.

Central Environmental Authority approval has already been granted for the project. The land acquisition and resettlement works are in progress and a sum of Rs. 1,620 million has been spent in compensating for the acquired lands and about 700 families that had to be resettled.

There will be a toll charged from motorists using the Expressway.

However, no decision has been taken with regard to the amount of toll. No three-wheelers or motorbikes would be allowed on the highway.

The expressway will be designed for a speed of 80 km/hour for the section from New Kelani bridge to Kerawalapitiya and 100 km/hour for the remaining section.

The travel time of 90 minutes from the present New Kelani Bridge to Katunayake on the existing Peliyagoda-Puttalam road will be reduced to 20 minutes with the highway.

"One of the biggest advantages the business community would have from the CKE is the time saving to travel to the airport and back," he said.

While creating a high mobility link between the city of Colombo and Katunayake International Airport the new highway would also be promoting outward migration of public from Colombo area. In addition it would also improve user benefits to the rapidly expanding transport traffic.

Decongesting the existing Peliyagoda-Puttalam Road (A3) and enhance the safety of the road users would be another advantage.