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New Kelani Bridge ‘Golden Gate Kalyani’ to open today

a year ago

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Chief Government Whip and Minister of Highways Johnston Fernando announced that the New Kelani Bridge would be declared open by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa at 6 p.m. today (24), according to a press release by the Ministry of Highways. The bridge consists of two sections – the extradosed bridge section over the river and the steel box girder viaduct section over the existing roadway. “Both technologies are used for the first time in Sri Lanka. The extradosed design enabled the bridge to have the widest span without piers in any bridge in Sri Lanka. As no piers need to be constructed on the river bed, there is no impact to the water flow or ecology of the river itself. The steel box girder technology enabled the viaduct section to be constructed with narrower curves to optimise space, and quicker construction to optimise resources with minimum disruption to traffic,” the release said. The six-lane bridge extends southwards from the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway, and divides towards Port Access Road ending at the Ingurukade Intersection and Baseline Road ending at the Orugodawatta Intersection. Fernando said the new bridge would be a main attraction that would amplify the beauty of the commercial capital of the country as well as the exquisiteness of the Kelani River. Engineers have illuminated the new bridge using new technologies of lighting systems from other countries to make it a local and foreign tourist attraction. Having understood the need for a new bridge that could cater to the increased volume of traffic with the opening of the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway, the bridge was designed in 2012 and its feasibility study was conducted in 2013. The agreements were signed in 2014 when Prime Minister Rajapaksa was the President and Minister of Highways at the time. The length of the bridge section across the Kelani River is 380 metres, and the bridge is being constructed in two stages: The first package, the steel output bridge section, is constructed at a cost of Rs. 31,593 million, while the second stage, the concrete suspension bridge section, is built at a cost of Rs. 9,896 million. Minister Fernando said that ministry officials have planted trees that could absorb particulate matter, black carbon, and dust, while tolerating heat along the new bridge and connecting roads, including Kelanitissa Circular Road and the road to the bridge from the Orugodawatta Junction. Officials of the Department of National Botanical Gardens have recommended that trees that could work as “lungs” of an ecosystem. Accordingly, they have selected trees such as koboneela (Bauhinia purpurea), ehala (Cassia fistula), may mara (Delonix regia), robarosiya (Tabebuia rosea), kaha mara (Poinciana regia), rat mal (Rhododendron arboreum), mee (Madhuca longifolia), kumbuk (Terminalia arjuna), na tree (Mesua ferrea), Ceylon ironwood, araliya (Plumeria), magul karanda (Pongamia pinnata), nuga (Ficus benghalensis), and murutha (Lagerstroemia speciosa). Moreover, an underground pipe system has been laid down to provide water to the trees continuously.

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