Johnston inaugurates construction of Port Access Elevated Highway
a year ago
Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister Johnston Fernando yesterday (25) inaugurated construction work on the first section of 3,279 precast concrete sections of the Port Access Elevated Highway from Ingurukade Junction to the Colombo Port City, which uses precast concrete bridge technology for the first time in the country, the Ministry said in a release. The Ministry further said that the travel time between Ingurukade Junction and Colombo Fort, which takes about 45 minutes now, would be reduced to five minutes once the project reaches completion. The 5.3 km elevated highway connects to the New Kelani Bridge from the Ingurukade Junction near the Kelanitissa Power Station, and extends onwards to Colombo Port City. It is to be a four-lane highway, being constructed at an estimated cost of Rs. 28 billion. The construction is to be carried out by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation under the supervision of the Road Development Authority (RDA) and the Ministry of Highways. The Port Access Elevated Highway has five on and off-ramp facilities to provide entrances at Ingurukade Junction, near Wimaladharma building at Pettah, Aluth Mawatha entrance, Galle Face entrance, and the Port City entrance. The project aims to alleviate 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-storied Maritime Facilitation Centre is to be constructed outside the port boundary to substitute for the buildings demolished to make way for the elevated highway. It is also to be constructed by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation on land belonging to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) with the financial assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), at a cost of nearly Rs. 4.1 billion, within 24 months. “This would help ensure that the SLPA 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,” Minister Fernando said. Among those present at yesterday’s launch ceremony were Minister of Ports and Shipping Rohitha Abeygunawardena, State Minister of Rural Roads and Other Infrastructure Nimal Lanza, and Ministry of Highways Secretary R.W.R. Pemasiri, as well as the Port Access Elevated Highway Project Director and other ministry officials.