Comprehensive report on landslide prone areas along proposed Central Expressway

Installation of early warning system underway on Southern Expressway

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

A comprehensive report on the identified landslide prone areas along the proposed Central Expressway from Colombo-Kandy would be sent to the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) next week, the Road Development Authority (RDA) said yesterday.

RDA, Central Highway Project Officer L.H. Weerakoon told The Island that the authority had conducted a reconnaissance survey of the entire stretch to identify landslide prone areas along the proposed highway trace.

The authority had identified several risk areas between Pothuhera to Galagedara. Therefore, the authority would seek the assistance of NBRO to further clarify the technical details of the area, Weerakoon added.

Currently, those areas were not facing a landslide risk but after the construction of the road there might be a risk due to high rainfall, he said.

Weerakoon said that the central highway project would be carried out in four stages and the construction work on the first stage of the central highway from Kadawatha to Meerigama had been started in August with funds from China. The land acquisition was going on for the second stage of the highway from Meerigama to Kurunegala and that section would be constructed with a loan facility from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The initial assessment of the third and fourth sections of the central highway had started and the construction work would commence in 2016, he said.

Land acquisition, designing and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would be finished at the end of this year, he added.

Weerakoon said the funds for landslide mitigation would be handled by the RDA and NBRO would assess the possible danger of the area and would give their recommendations.

The construction work on the first phase of the Central Highway from Colombo to Kandy was inaugurated by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in August.

The RDA said that the construction work on all four stages would be started next year.

Meanwhile, the NBRO head of the Landslide Research & Risk Management Division R. M. S Bandara said that the RDA had not yet consulted his organisation on the central highway and, therefore, the NBRO would give its recommendations to prevent and mitigate the landslides after the report was received from the RDA.

He said that the landslide prone area along the southern highway section from Imaduwa to Kokmaduwa had been reopened for traffic and currently there was no landslide risk.

The installation of the Early Warning System (EWS) between Imaduwa and Kokmaduwa was being carried out, Bandara said.

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