Acquiring lands for extension from Frazer Avenue to Dehiwala Station completed
Pix by Nisal Baduge
By Thisari Andria Walawege
The extension of the Marine Drive from Kollupitiya Station to S. Thomas’ Preparatory School is expected to be completed in eight months, Marine Drive Extension Project Director K. Selvanathan said.
Mr Selvanathan said the extension of this 500m long section was started in December last year after all requirements regarding acquiring the land and payment of compensation were fulfilled.
“The extension of this section was fully funded by the government,” he said.
The Marine Drive extension project was proposed by the Road Development Authority (RDA) to address the issue of Colombo related traffic congestion. Since 1995, the RDA has been attempting to extend the Marine Drive, but progress was slow due to funds shortage.
Initially, it was proposed to extend the Marine Drive from Panadura to Galle Face Green which is an approximately 32km long stretch. The RDA’s initial proposal for the extension of Marine Drive ends passing the Galle Face Hotel, connecting Galle Road at the Galle Face roundabout.
According to the project director, the Marine Drive has already been extended for about six kilometres from Frazer Avenue in Dehiwala to Kollupitiya Station.
Moreover, he said the acquiring the land necessary to continue the extension from Frazer Avenue to Dehiwala Station has already been completed but payment of compensation has not been completed.
“About 40% of the compensation has been paid already but until payment of compensation is completed, we can’t start the project,” Mr Selvanathan said.
Furthermore, he said they had already handed over a proposal requesting necessary funds from the government.
Mr Selvanathan believes that once the approval is given and compensation is fully paid, this section could be finished within nine months.
In addition, he said the feasibility study related to Marine Drive extension from Dehiwala Station is being carried out and the final report of the study would be given within one month.
“Afterwards, according to the report, we will hand over proposals to acquire the funds necessary for the construction of that section,” Mr Selvanathan said.
In 2017, a Cabinet decision was taken to construct an underground Marine Drive extension to Colombo Port City.
According to the proposal made by former Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka, it had been planned to adopt the Public-Private Partnership methodology for the construction activities of the infrastructure facilities of the proposed Colombo Port City.
It was proposed to implement the project for the construction of the underground Marine Drive Extension as an entry into the Port City from the Kollupitiya Railway Station up to Colombo Chaithya Road, with the Port City Project Company as a Public-Private Partnership Project.
“However, with the change in the government, the proceedings of the project as planned have been halted due to the lack of clear instructions from the current government,” Mr Selvanathan said.
According to him, elevated highways or flyovers of length 245m would be built through the ocean connecting to a tunnel system. The project would incur a large cost, which makes it necessary to seek alternatives other than the government’s funds.
“Once acquiring of land, payment of compensation and acquiring necessary funds is completed, the construction process would take about one and half years,” Mr Selvanathan emphasized.
Meanwhile, Mr Selvanathan said a project was being carried out to install street lamps along the Marine Drive from Bambalapitiya to Wellawatte. He said the installation is carried out under a tender basis and it would be completed within this week.
It was proposed to implement the project for the construction of the underground Marine Drive Extension as an entry into the Port City from the Kollupitiya Railway Station up to Colombo Chaithya Road, with the Port City Project Company as a Public-Private Partnership Project