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SLTransport and Highways sector gains significant progress during past 2 years

SLTransport and Highways sector gains significant progress during past 2 years

Sri Lanka’s Transport and Highways sector has made significant progress over the past two years, despite the economic crisis from 2021 to 2022. Ministry secretary Eng. Ranjith Ganganath Rubasinghe noted that the government allocated Rs.390 billion for road development, with Rs.300 billion paid to contractors and Rs.90 billion for debt repayment.

Phase 1 of the Central Expressway is under discussion, and Phases 2 and 3, the Ruwanpura Expressway, and the Athurugiriya elevated highways project are expected to start soon through public-private partnerships.

 An electronic toll payment system for highways will be implemented within months, and preliminary discussions with Japan for the Light Railway Project (LRT) are ongoing. Negotiations with China, India, and Japan are also in progress for new projects. The sector aims to grow by 10%-15% over the next five years.

Director General of the Road Development Authority (RDA), S.P.M. Suriya Bandara, announced the completion of the second phase of the Kompannavidiya flyover and the Kohuwala flyover next week, with the harbor entrance runway expected to be completed by September.

 The RDA is implementing thousands of projects nationwide, including 320 km of rural roads under a 1,000 km project, set to be completed by August.

Acting General Manager of Railways, Sanjaya Mudalige, stated that the railway department is offering land leases for its 12,000 acres, with legal action planned against non-registrants. 

The Mahawa-Omanthai railway line modernization will finish in August, and a freight train service from Beliatta to Colombo will commence on the 15th. Plans are underway to develop coastal railway stations into multipurpose projects with the private sector, and India has agreed to donate 20 train engines, with the first batch arriving in two months.

National Transport Commission Chairman, Shashi Welgama, mentioned that amendments to the National Transport Commission Act will allow regulation of three-wheelers, school and office transport, and taxis. 

The ‘Sisu Sariya’ program provides transport for 110,000 children across 5,000 schools, and the ‘Gami Sariya’ program aims to improve living standards in remote rural areas by offering transport facilities. Inter-provincial bus schedules are being prepared, and the public can contact customer care for assistance and complaints.

Chairman of Ceylon Transport Board, Lalith de Alwis, highlighted that 1.2 million passengers use their buses daily, with 5,500 trips serving the public. The board is focusing on digitization to reduce revenue losses, having refurbished 400 buses last year with plans for another 400 this year. 

Approval for 1,000 new buses has been granted, with immediate procurement of 400 buses. Subsidized bus fares are available for school and technical college students, with 811 buses for school routes and 890 for other services daily. Future initiatives include introducing electric buses, enhancing fleet operations, and improving passenger information services, alongside existing online seat reservations and service timetables

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