New Kelani Bridge-Athurugiriya highway project: Chinese proposal approved

o Highways Ministry to look at CHC technical report
o Total value of investment $ 800 million

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

An unsolicited proposal has been rushed by the Government to construct the much-awaited four-lane elevated highway project from New Kelani Bridge to Athurugiriya, The Morning learnt.

It is also learnt that the proposal was channelled through the Board of Investment (BOI) as an investment project by the China Harbour Corporation (CHC), for which the Ministry of Highways is to provide technical support. The total value of the investment was said to be around $ 800 million.

The CHC, which is also the engineering contractor of the Colombo Port City, had submitted the investment proposal for the construction of the elevated highway as part of the Port City Development Project. The elevated highway is also said to be connected to the Port City, The Morning learnt. The development of the four-lane elevated highway, which is 17.3 km in length, stretching from New Kelani Bridge (Orugodawatta) to Athurugiriya, was proposed in 2015 to improve the road network to accommodate the heavy influx of vehicles through the Colombo city limits.

Phase One (6.9 km in length) of the project has been planned from Orugodawatta to Rajagiriya and Phase Two (10.4 km), from Rajagiriya to Athurugiriya.

When contacted by The Morning, Highways Ministry Secretary Ranjith Premasiri confirmed that the CHC’s investment proposal came through the BOI.

He said the Ministry was directed to provide technical assistance.

According to the Secretary, cabinet approval had been granted to receive the technical proposal from the CHC.
“The project had not yet been finalised. Only discussions were currently going on,” he stressed.

However, Expressions of Interest (EOIs) had been called by the previous Government for the same project for a private-public partnership (PPP), which was to be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), it is learnt.