Road Development in Sri Lanka

I’m not sure if I will make myself unpopular by writing my third article at a stretch (1. Government Hospitals in Sri Lanka 2. A Cleaner Colombo) giving credit to the government, if not praising it. I have to write what I see. There are hundreds of people who write against the government and I don’t think it is wrong to write about the good initiatives of a government too.

Infrastructure development is the key to the development of a nation. Road development, telecommunication, airports and seaports are the main areas that need attention.

The present government paid attention to road development even during the worst period of war against the LTTE. Expressways, highways, lengthy ‘A’ type roads and flyovers were developed during this period and that didn’t give much mileage to the government as the developments were overshadowed by the destructions of the war. But the road projects went on despite a fragile war economy.

Roadwork was accelerated after the war as the entire country was open for such developmental work. Accessibility to the Northern and the Eastern parts of the country was essential. Ample foreign aids also came from funding agencies. Carpeted roads to all destinations were the result.

I am yet to be convinced about short length concrete roads built in villages under Maga Neguma by Pradesheeya Sabhas. They lay concrete few miles of the road and let the rest of the road to be at it was. I don’t get the logic. Rather than laying concrete a mile or two, they could at least renovate the whole road by laying gravel. I think the concrete work was given to satisfy the local level politicians rather than the villagers. Less than one mile road opposite my ancestral home in Mahawilachchiya also was also tar matted but it was done so poorly that it didn’t last 6 months. The contractor didn’t get even his retention money. I am not sure if this is the status of other Maga Neguma roads too.

Southern Express Way, Airport Express Way, and many highways are either complete or on the verge of completion. You can go to Road Development Authority website see what other roads are being done.

I don’t know if there is corruption involved in the road development projects. I will be surprised if there isn’t. But we can’t complain that the roads are badly built either. We will have to wait for few more years to see if the new roads successfully pass the guaranteed period.

2 thoughts on “Road Development in Sri Lanka

  1. I fully agree on the importance of infrastructure work to help developing a country. No doubt the construction of more expressways will help Sri Lankan traffic to leave archaic journeys behind at an average rate of 30 km/h.

    However, I don’t feel that priorities are always properly met. The most needed express roads are surely the one from Katunayaka to Colombo (and vv), as well as (at least one) outer ring round the capital. This would reduce/avoid the through-traffic in the city, and give airport traffic an important boost. To have the southern expressway to be the first to be realised is more of political importance than economic need.

    As a personal note, I’m also totally in disagreement that motorcycles are banned from the expressway. I honestly don’t know of any other country in the world where this is the case. Any motorcycle of 125cc or more, being properly maintained, is capable of producing enough speed and momentum to be driven on an expressway. Even in Europe, with the most dense network of express roads in the world, motorcycles have access to all such roads. Being a fervent motorcycle driver, the current banning rule will keep me from using the Southern Expressway for a long time to come.
    In view of the large fleet of motorcycles in this country, it would have been even a better idea of providing the expressways with a separate (extra) lane for motorcycles.

    Of course, drivers (of all kinds of motor vehicles) need to be properly trained and educated. If they continue to disregard all proper driving rules, as they are doing on the main roads, driving on any expressway can only lead to disaster. Why is it that we never see any positive educational clips on TV in Sri Lanka? In most developing countries, the use of TV media for education and advancement of the population is heavily used. Sri Lanka is very much behind in this respect. Even in Europe, short clips have over the years improved traffic behaviour tremendously. There’s still a lot to be done there.


  2. The Katunayake Colombo expressway is now nearing completion. The Government has agreed to commence the construction works for Kandy Colombo expressway too as a policy, but there is a problem with lack of fund as well as finalizing the route whether to touch Pogahawela, Kurunegala cities or not & so on..The authorities are planning to have concrete overhead bridges instead of on ground roads. The Idea is to minimize the damage to the environment as well as the lands & properties.
    Then Kandy- North would be the next massive expressway as per government plan. These roads works have to be done at any cost because future of our country is depend on providing proper infrastrure facilities for investors as well as for expected large number of tourists in next few years.
    The problem is whether we can cope up all these with current economy in our country. The corruption is one of the significant negotive factors. The present government has every ritht to celeberate & get all the credits to win the first war against the terrorism, which was failed by most of the countries in rest of the world. But the same government has failed to defeat the corruption as they declared as the second war to be won. We couldn’t see at least any positive step taken to form up a special task force to defeat so called second war. The present regim is loosing the respect & popularity day by day due to uncontrolled corruption within the goernment authorities & politicians.


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