ECONOMYNEXT - A flyover that has helped speed up traffic along a key highway leading to Colombo is an interim solution pending a light rail transit track, and its cost was brought down without the length being reduced, Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva said.
In 2014 the project was originally proposed at a cost of 63 million Euros, but the deal was signed after re-negotiation by a new administration at 53.7 million Euros, de Silva said in a facebook.com post.
There was no reduction in the length of the flyover. The original length proposed was 533.8 metres with 363 meters of bridge and 170.8 meters of approach ramps and the final length was also 534 metres, he said.
The cost however was negotiated down to 53.7 million Euros, which was 15 percent lower, de Silva said.
In domestic currency with the Euro at 185, that was a reduction of 1.8 billion rupees, he said.
The financial agreement was signed in December 2015 with a 70 percent of the funding coming through a 40-year loan at 0.15 percent. The balance 30 percent was Euribor plus 1.85 percent, he said.
In contrast the loan to build the Hambantota port was at 6.3 percent, he said.
There are still some side access roads to be built around Rajapgiriya.
Traffic from Battaramulla to Borella had speeded up sharply at offpeak times and especially during the evening rush hour traffic is now moving at a slow pace in sharp contrast to the earlier experience of coming to a complete standstill.
The road stretch near the turnoff to Athulkotte has also been made into four lanes and some of the side roads which created congestion shockwaves such as Cooray Mawatha have been closed.
"This is an interim solution," de Silva said. "The long term solution is to build a light rail transit system."
Sri Lanka is unable to get private funding for the busiest LRT from Colombo to Malabe, which has the most chance of commercial success, due to the Japanese government's insistence on giving a loan according to some critics.
Thailand's Bangkok has the most successful privately funded LRT's.
While most LRT/MRT systems have state funding for civil works and track, and the rolling stock by private operators, the Sukumvit line was built entirely with private funds with the state only giving right of way.
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