By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
As criticisms continue to mount on the increasing traffic congestion and poor motorways in certain regions, the Road Development Authority (RDA) recently assured the National Road Master Plan (NRMP) for the 2017–2027 period is being formulated in a manner that would give equal emphasis to all provinces and address concerns prevailing in the current system.
Pledging the NRMP plan for the next 1o years would be more sophisticated than the previous, RDA Director Planning Namalie Siyambalapitiya stressed the upcoming strategies would look into a number of areas and pay greater emphasis on safety, a key factor overlooked in the previous plan according to the official.
The NRMP would also formulate the much needed road network for the North
and East region that was not captured in the 2007 – 2016 plan which was formulated during the war period.
The upcoming NRMP aims at catering to the increasing traffic volume and traffic mix where it will address low travel speeds, severe traffic congestion and increased accidents reported. While it would also cater to the capacity of trunk roads where there is a need for high mobility network to augment the network, it plans to resolve issues arising from uncontrolled roadside development due to poor law enforcement and monitoring.
“The unfettered urbanization has led to undesirable outcomes, reflected in ribbon-type urban expansions population, concentration and others. We have built roads, dumped money, but there is no system to evaluate the outcome. The next plan will do so,” said Siyambalapitiya.
However, she noted that the requirement was more research in the area along with the incorporation of policies that include vehicle importing and usage.
It was stressed that the primary objective of the NRMP is to promote economic development of the country by facilitating mobility, reducing travel times and costs, and improvement of accessibility.
Furthermore it aims at meeting current and expected future transport needs and ensuring efficient utilization of assets and investments. Building cost effective infrastructure elements with improved safety for the people, is said to be another area of priority.
“Over ther last 10 years or so we couldn’t give recognition to these factors. But from 2017 we will try our level best to include the said factors into the master plan, get it approved and take measures to ensure no one deviate from this,” asserted Siyambalapitiya.