November 24, 2011
Photo 1: Expressway ready for use
"JICA will continue to support the Sri Lankan authorities to enhance the safe and effective operation of the Southern Expressway, now that the construction activities are completed", says Mr. Akira Shimura, Chief Representative of the JICA Sri Lanka office. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is the implementing agency for the Official Development Assistance from the Government of Japan, and has contributed the largest share of funding for the Southern Expressway. The Colombo-Galle section of this first toll expressway of Sri Lanka will be ceremonially opened by His Excellency, President Mahinda Rajapakse on November 27, 2011.
The 95km long section opening on the 27th extends from Kottawa in Colombo District to Pinnaduwa in Galle District. It will allow vehicle speeds of 100km/h dramatically reducing travel time between the sea and air ports of the commercial capital and the Southern Province.
Photo 2: Toll plazas
Together with the Government of Sri Lanka, this section of the Southern Expressway is co-financed by JICA and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and implemented by the Road Development Authority of the Ministry of Ports and Highways.
JICA provided concessionary long term loans to the value of JPY 36,269 million (approx. LKR 50 billion) for construction of 66km of the 4-lane expressway from Kottawa to Kurundugahahetekma. This section consists of 5 interchanges and 4 river bridges including the 695m long bridge over Bentara Ganga, the longest bridge in the country.
Toll plazas and the toll collection system including ETC (Electronic Toll Collection system) for the entire expressway and many of the vehicles for operation and maintenance are also funded by JICA. The expressway will initially open with a manually operated toll collection system, and upgrade to a multi-option state-of-the-art toll operation by end of 2012.
To support the safe and effective operation of the expressway, JICA provided technology transfer by Japanese experts, training for expressway management staff in Sri Lanka and Japan, and job-training of over 300 toll collection and traffic management staff. This support will continue for even after the expressway is inaugurated. "Since this is the first expressway in the country, there will be a learning period for everyone once the operation starts. We will continue sharing Japan's knowledge and experience to promote safety and sustainability of the expressway", says Mr. Shimura.
The Southern Expressway is the first link of the planned expressway network of Sri Lanka. JICA is also currently financing two sections of the Outer Circular Highway of Colombo which link the Southern Expressway to the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway, as well as provincial and rural road rehabilitation around the country.
Photos 3: Training of traffic management staff in progress
Photos 4: Training of traffic management staff in progress
Photo 5: Emergency recovery training
hoto 6: Expressway staff, with JICA expert