Expert recommends elevated expressways


President of the Chamber of Construction Industry, Sri Lanka, Dr. Surath Wickramasinghe says Sri Lanka should opt for elevated expressways, which he considers cost effective and environment friendly.

Commuters who travelled between Colombo and Kandy had to spend at least four hours each way, he pointed out in a brief interview with The Island, opining that to ‘fast track’ the Central Expressway project, the latest design techniques, should be used. "Elevated expressway are in vogue overseas as they can be constructed on any terrain, ideally on government land or even in close proximity to the existing railway lines. In different parts of the world, the elevated expressways go through the cities such as in Bangkok, Chennai and London."

Dr. Wickramasinghe says that if the land acquisition is not included, the additional cost of an elevated expressway could be in the 25-30% range. "However, this concept is more advantageous and beneficial than destroying hillsides to extract soil, filling sand or using boulders to fill the normal expressway trace as was evident from the construction of the Expressways 1 and 2. The alternative expressway design which is applicable even to mountainous terrain is environment friendly and helps overcome challenges posed by floods etc."

The CCI was aware that there had been a delay in commencing the above projects because no decision had been taken on a suitable and feasible trace, Dr. Wickramasinghe said, adding that one solution was for the authorities to seriously consider the elevated expressway concept, combined with ground level areas as mentioned above. "This will help expedite the construction and thereby reduce costs in terms of time and energy while funds spent on constructing tunnels, blasting rocks etc could be saved. The Chinese, Japanese, and even Korean Companies have the experience in constructing elevated expressways over mountainous terrains.

"The local constructors could be offered other expressways, and I am aware that they can independently raise finance to implement such projects."

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