Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) will help to convert the manual toll collection system now being used on first expressway into an electronic toll collection (ETC) system.
Currently tolls are collected by operators manually at exit points based on the distance travelled on the access-controlled four-lane expressway from Kottawa in Colombo District to Pinnaduwa in Galle District.
The construction of the first phase of the Southern Expressway from Kottawa to Pinnaduwa was jointly funded by JICA and Asian Development Bank (ADB), which also have paid for the vehicles required for operation and maintenance of the expressway, including tow-trucks, cranes, fire engines, ambulances and police vehicles. Currently there are eight interchanges on the highway. Toll plazas and toll office facilities are built at the interchanges for manual toll collection.
The system will be expanded to include a touch-and-go card system and ETC (electronic toll collection), which is also financed by JICA, the organisation has announced.
According to UK-based Traffic Technology Today, JICA has also provided technology transfer by Japanese experts, training for expressway management staff in Sri Lanka and Japan, and job training of over 300 toll collection and traffic management staff for the safe and effective operation of the new road.
The Chief Representative of JICA’s Sri Lanka office Akira Shimura has said that JICA will continue to support the Sri Lankan authorities to enhance the safe and effective operation of the Southern Expressway.
“Since this is the first expressway in the country, there will be a learning period for everyone once the operation starts. We will continue sharing Japan’s knowledge and experience to promote safety and sustainability of the expressway,” Shimura has said.
“It will contribute to growth of tourism, better logistics, mitigation of traffic congestion, and then regional economic development,” the official has added.