ADB extends $ 75 m for better road connections to Southern Expressway

Thursday, 26 September 2013 01:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Board of Directors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $ 75 million loan to the Sri Lankan Government for its Southern Road Connectivity Project, which will enable a smoother flow of people and freight between the southern region and the commercial capital of Colombo. “This will contribute to an integrated road network that will accelerate economic growth, while reducing travel time and cost and improving safety,” said Chen Chen, transport specialist in ADB’s South Asia Department. With international hubs being developed in Colombo and Hambantota, the need to efficiently move people and goods between the Southern and Western Provinces means the country requires an integrated inland transport system. Estimates suggest road capacity in Sri Lanka will need to be doubled every eight to 10 years to meet rising demand. Easing congestion on access routes to the South Expressway will boost industrial development as supply sources and markets outside the region become more accessible. ADB’s loan will improve 33.5 km of national highways that link to three interchanges on the Southern Expressway. This comprises 2.5 km of the Moratuwa-Piliyandala road (B295), 2.1 km on the Ratmalana-Mirihana road (B389), 12.4 km on the Southern Expressway-Mathugama road (B157), 2.1 km on the Kirulapone-Homagama road (A004), and 14.4 km on the Kesbawa-Pokunuwita road (B084). The funds will also be used to help Sri Lanka’s Road Development Authority (RDA) develop a long-term expressway connectivity plan, carry out a feasibility study for 250 km of national highways, and undertake detailed engineering for about 200 km of national highways. The project, due to be completed by the end of 2018, is expected to directly benefit 1.1 million residents in the project area and indirectly benefit 4.6 million more living in the Colombo, Kalutara, and Galle districts served by the Southern Expressway. ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2012, ADB assistance totalled $21.6 billion, including co-financing of $8.3 billion.