President to open two completed projects
- New Kelani Bridge to be opened mid-week
- Kandy Expressway to be opened on 28th
The new bridge built over the Kelani River, and the Mirigama-Kurunegala stretch of the Kandy Expressway, are to be opened this week by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, The Sunday Morning learnt.
The new bridge is expected to be opened on Wednesday (24) while the opening of the 40 km Mirigama-Kurunegala section of the Central Expressway is to take place on 28 November.
The expressway stretch will feature four lanes and five interchanges at Mirigama, Nakulugamuwa, Dambokka, Kurunegala, and Yaggapitiya, the UDA said.
According to the Ministry of Highways, the project to build a new bridge over the Kelani River was approved by the Cabinet in 2014, following a feasibility study conducted in 2013. The bridge also has six lanes for traffic.
The new bridge is the first extradosed bridge to be built in Sri Lanka, and the first bridge constructed using the Balance Cantilever Method Form Traveller, the Ministry of Highways said. The bridge will also have the longest bridge span without piers, consisting of the largest pile cap constructed in a bridge in Sri Lanka.
The project was funded by a (Japanese yen) ¥ 35 billion loan from Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) under special economic agreement terms. The JICA loan carries an interest rate of 0.1% per annum for the civil works component, and at a 0.01% interest rate per annum for the consultancy component. The loan has a repayment period of 40 years, and a grace period of 10 years.
Commenting on the project last week, Ministry of Highways Secretary R.W.R. Pemasiri said that the bridge will ultimately connect the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway with the Colombo Port and the Port City Project.
He claimed that this project had resulted in the actual transfer of technology to local engineers, and praised the two Japanese contractors for the work done and their high safety standards, due to which there had been zero fatal incidents during the project period.
The project forecasts a reduction in the average time to travel the 2 km distance from the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway to the Orugodawatta Intersection to four minutes, from the current 20 minutes.