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Maritime Facilitation Centre construction begins today

Arrangements have been made to launch the construction work of the Maritime Facilitation Centre and to commission a pedestrian underpass opposite the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital on the Kandy-Colombo Highway and Kapuduwa Interchange by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa today (2).

The ceremony is scheduled to be held with the participation of a limited number of people as per the health regulations in place in view of the pandemic. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will participate in the ceremony via video conferencing from Temple Trees, said Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister Johnston Fernando, as announced by the Ministry of Highways yesterday (1).
Minister Fernando said that the work commenced after implementing President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour” which has turned the entire country into a “single gigantic work yard”.
“With the dynamics of change and development arose the need to introduce a new interchange to the Southern Expressway to increase its efficiency. On the basis of suggestions from people and directions and supervision of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a new interchange was constructed in Kapuduwa. Similarly in order to eliminate heavy traffic congestion opposite the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital, a pedestrian underpass was built to enable the visitors to the hospital to proceed without obstructing the vehicular movements on the Colombo-Kandy road,” the Minister said.

He said that a 17-storeyed building will be constructed on land belonging to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority to set up a Maritime Facilitation Centre to house offices of the buildings that had been removed because of the Port Access Elevated Highway Project with the assistance of Asian Development Bank. The new 17-storeyed building will be constructed at a cost of Rs. 4,099 million by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation. The work is scheduled to be completed in 24 months.

“This would help make services of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority 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.

The Kapuduwa Interchange has been constructed by the Southern Expressway Extension Project and it commences near the 130 km post on the Southern Expressway. It was constructed at a cost of Rs. 445 million in five months by the China CATIC Corporation. No new land or property had been acquired in adding the interchange to the Southern Expressway. With the construction of the new Kapuduwa Interchange, people travelling on the Southern Expressway will have easy access to Matara, Hakmana, and Kamburupitiya. From the new interchange the distance to Matara town is 7 km, to Kamburupitiya 10 km, and to Hakmana 17 km. It is hoped that the Kapuduwa Interchange will boost efficiency and productivity by helping industrialists, businessmen, and farmers to transport their goods and produce to the market more efficiently while creating new business opportunities as well as adding value to the lands in the region, Minister Fernando said.

The pedestrian underpass constructed opposite the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital cost Rs. 127 million and took 12 months for completion. It was constructed with the assistance from China Exim (Hunan) Bank. It was constructed under the supervision of the Road Development Authority by the Hunan Construction Engineering Group Corporation. This underpass would solve a long-standing problem of traffic congestion near the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital, benefitting people visiting the hospital and the vehicles moving on the Colombo-Kandy road. The underpass could also be used for people to reach Getambe Viharaya easily. Vendors and hawkers have been removed from the road near the hospital and they have been given facilities to ply their trades in the underpass, further reducing the traffic congestion, the Minister added.