November 25, 2010
His Excellency Mr Kunio Takahashi - the Ambassador of Japan in Sri Lanka, Dr. P. B. Jayasundera - Secretary to the Treasury and Mr Akira Shimura - the Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will conclude a 1.2 billion Japanese Yen (approx. LKR 1.6 billion) grant agreement to reconstruct five bridges in the Eastern Province, at the Ministry of Finance on 25 November 2010.
Under the grant agreement, four bridges between Padiyathalawa and Eravur on the A5 in Maha Oya and Eravurpattu DS Divisions and the Panichankerny bridge and causeway on the A15 (Trincomalee-Batticaloa Road) will be reconstructed.
The A5 is the primary road link from the Central and Uva Provinces to the Eastern Province, while the A15 interconnects the three districts of the Eastern Province – Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara. The existing bridges which have been constructed some 60 years ago are in a dilapidated state since maintenance and repairs could not be carried out during decades of conflict.
Within the post-tsunami and post-conflict reconstruction drive, both the A5 and A15 roads have been widened for two-lane traffic. To gain the benefit of the widening, the bridges which are now traffic bottlenecks have to be reconstructed according to current national standards for two-lane traffic as well. The grant assistance from Japan will enable this improvement.
"We hope this assistance will contribute to improving connectivity within and among the provinces, and will provide better access for residents of the Eastern Province to socio-economic facilities", says Mr. Akira Shimura, Chief Representative of JICA – Sri Lanka Office.
JICA is currently the largest donor to the road sector in Sri Lanka. JICA's current assistance in the sector include: the construction of the Southern Expressway and Outer Circular Highway, improvement of the A15-A4 roads from Thrikkandiyadimadu to Akkaraipattu and the development of 315km of rural roads in the Eastern Province and 350km of provincial roads in the Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces.