November 3, 2004
In response to the request from the Government of Sri Lanka, the Government of Japan, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), sent a Basic Design Study Mission on the “ Project for Construction of the New Manampitiya Bridge.” The mission, scheduled to stay in Sri Lanka from 24th October to 4th November 2004, evaluated the appropriateness of the project and proposed a draft basic design for the bridge which will be recommended to the Government of Japan. The Road Development Authority (RDA) accepted the draft final report and signed a Minutes of Discussion on 3rd November 2004 with the leader of the mission, Mr. Hideki Sakata, Deputy Resident Representative of the JICA Sri Lanka Office. The final report of the study is expected to be submitted in January 2005.
The Manampitiya Bridge is located between Polonnaruwa and Manampitiya spanning across the Mahaweli river on the A 11 trunk road providing the only access from the North Central Province to Baticaloa town. There is no any other bridge either up stream or down stream along the river around 80 km from the Manampitiya Bridge. This bridge is also a major approach to the Mahaweli settlement areas in the Polonnaruwa and Ampara Districts. Existing 290-meter long bridge is a rail cum road bridge, which is more than 80 years old. Since the width of the bridge is less than 5 m, it is too narrow for passing two vehicles at a time. The problem is further aggravated when the rail gates are closed for trains to cross over the bridge. About 3000 vehicles pass this bridge daily and RDA has estimated an increase in the volume of the traffic when the economic development activities are accelerated in the future.
To reduce the traffic congestion and facilitate easy accessibility and faster mobility between Polonnaruwa and Baticaloa, the Road Development Authority through the Ministry of Highways requested Japan’s Grant Assistance for construction of the Manampitiya Bridge. The project also aims to increase the cordial relationship among the communities, expand economic activities and accelerate rehabilitation work through the improvement of the transportation between war torn towns in the east and the rest of the country. The JICA Basic Design Study team has appraised economic, social, environmental and technological aspects and prepared the study report.
In the recent past, the Government of Japan has extended grant aid to reconstruct 7 bridges, which were identified by the Bridge Development Master Plan of JICA in 1996. Most recently completed bridges are the Muwagama Bridge at Ratnapura and the Gampola Bridge. In addition, the Government of Japan has provided assistance to implement Sri Lanka Japan Friendship Bridge (Victoria Bridge) Project, Baseline Road Project, Road Network Improvement Project and Detailed Design Study on the Outer Circular Road.