All over the world, in every nation whether rich or poor, a country’s highways and road system is considered as one of its biggest assets. From the supply and logistics point of view as well as commuter transport point of view, the highway system is responsible for a country’s march toward progress.
In post war Sri Lanka, there have been numerous steps taken in order to enhance and make efficient the highway and road system which is spread across the country. The Sri Lankan government has realized that in order to improve the efficiency, and get the most out of its work force the country needs an effective road and railway network that reduces cost and travel times from point A to Point B, which also reduces travel fatigue. This in turn, will lead to a happier, much more willing and efficient workforce capable of spending more time working and less time on the streets. The Ministry of Ports and Highways is the key organization in Sri Lanka’s ports and highways sector. It is responsible for the planning, construction and maintenance of Sri Lanka’s Ports and Highways.
Post war, the Defense ministry, together with the ministry of Ports and Highways have joined and come together in an effort to revitalize Sri Lanka’s aging railway and highway system. The Road Development Authority (RDA) is a the forefront of this new initiative in selecting roads and highways that need to be expanded, altered and developed. For example the roads passing through Etul Kotte which carries thousands of workers and employees to and from their respective work places has been widened to a six lane highway easing the traffic flow and rapidly improving travel time. Small parks and jogging paths built and maintained by the defense ministry add an aesthetic touch as well as a new practical use of random free space that can be found across the city of Colombo and its suburbs.
The Ministry of Ports and Highways has also initiated several mega development projects such as the Southern Express Highway Project and extensive renovation projects such as the Daha Ata Wanguwa (18 Bend) road in Kandy. The Southern expressway was completed and officially inaugurated in November 2011. This new expressway is part of a major 130.9 km development project known as the “Southern Transport development Project”. This segment of the highway has rapidly cut down on travel time to and from Colombo to Galle to approximately one hour while earlier it used to take more than three hours. The project was estimated at around $741.1 million. The “daha ata wanguwa” renovation project which was completed and handed over to the Sri lankan public early part of May 2012 was a LKR 5 billion mega renovation project carried out with the help of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The 41km road strip was widened upto 15 meters and carpeted. This road consists of several hairpin bends and an array of bridges and box culverts making it a tedious route to travel. The road was declared open by President Mahinda Rajapakse.
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