Section of Colombo Outer Circular Expressway to open Sept 17: JICA
Sri Lanka’s Kaduwela to Kadawatha section of the Colombo outer circular expressway (E02) will be declared open on September 17, Japan’s development agency JICA said.
Lakshman Kiriella, the minister for highways, Kenichi Suganuma, ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka, and Hiroyuki Abe, senior representative of JICA, will attend the event.
Japan provided financing for both the Kottawa- Kaduwela (OCH 1) and Kaduwela-Kadawatha (OCH 2) sections of the E02 toll expressway.
“OCH 1 was opened to the public in March 2014 with a major interchange at Kottawa and a smaller interchange at Kaduwela east (Kotalawala). In order to provide better access to the expressway network to the expanding administrative capital, an additional interchange was constructed subsequently in Athurugiriya. This will also be opened at the same time,” JICA said in a statement.
The Outer Circular Expressway extends the Southern Expressway northwards from Kottawa Interchange. Similar to the Southern Expressway – 66 kilometers of which was financed by JICA – Outer Circular Expressway will also allow vehicle speed up to 100 km/h.
“Once the 3r section from Kaduwela to Kerawalapitiya is completed, the Outer Circular Expressway will link Southern Expressway and Colombo Katunayake Expressway. It will then act as a North-South artery for Colombo bypassing the inner city area, thereby easing traffic congestion in the city,” JICA said.
The Kadawatha Interchange of OCH 2 is also expected to be the commencing point for the planned Central Expressway. The Outer Circular Expressway project is implemented by the Road Development Authority under the Ministry of University Education & Highways.
To construct the section from Kaduwela to Kadawatha, JICA provided concessionary loans to the value of 37,406 million Japanese Yen under Special Terms for Economic Partnership with an interest rate of 0.2 percent and 40-year repayment period.
This section includes 8.9km of 4-lane expressway, two interchanges (Kaduwela and Kadawatha) including toll plazas and facilities, and a 6-lane expressway bridge across Kelani River in Kaduwela.
As it is located in close proximity to Biyagama EPZ and Sapugaskanda Industrial zone, it is also expected to improve freight transportation to and from these zones.
In order to enhance the expressway use and operation, JICA also provided grant assistance to establish Intelligent Transport System (ITS) facilities on the expressway network.
The 940 million yen worth grant included traffic counters and rain gauges for data collection, traffic monitoring and control center for data monitoring and management, and Variable Message Signboards (VMS) at roadside and access roads for information dissemination. These facilities are now operational between Kaduwela and Godagama.
In addition to financing nearly 50 percent of the operational expressways in Sri Lanka, JICA is also financing the second new Kelani Bridge to ease congestion at Peliyagoda, the northern entry point to Colombo city.
JICA’s recent assistance to transport sector in Sri Lanka includes technical cooperation to formulate the urban transport master plan for Colombo metropolitan area and feasibility study for monorail system.