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Expressways to Kandy and to the north and east of Sri Lanka


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dfcvBy Architect Surath Wickramasinghe

Commuters by road between Colombo and Kandy are no doubt experiencing the agony of travelling for at least four hours between these two locations. This has been once again an issue of successive governments for almost half a century. Therefore, in order to “fast track” a solution to implement the expressway, the latest design techniques should be used. 

The most popular internationally are elevated expressways as the construction could take place on any terrain, ideally on Government land or even in close proximity to the existing railway lines for planning considerations. In different parts of the world, elevated expressways go through cities as in Bangkok and Chennai and several other major cities including London. 

If the land acquisition is not included, the additional cost of an elevated expressway could be between 25-30%. However, this concept is more advantageous and beneficial than bulldozing earth from hillsides, filling sand or using boulders to fill the normal expressway trace, or as done in constructing Expressways 1 and 2. These are bad examples and harmful to the people and the environment. The alternative expressway design which could traverse even on mountainous terrain are more environmental, people, animal and disaster friendly even during flooding and life could go on without any barriers.  

CCI is aware that the delay in commencing the above projects is due to a suitable and feasible trace not being decided. One solution to be considered by the authorities will be an elevated expressway concept, combined with ground level areas as mentioned above.  This will expedite construction and thereby save valuable costs in time and energy, while savings could be made by not constructing tunnels, blasting rocks, and other impediments like waterways. The Chinese, Japanese, and even Korean companies have the experience in constructing elevated expressways over mountainous terrain.

The local constructors could be offered the less-encumbered expressways, and I am aware that they can independently raise finance to implement such projects.


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