A new elevated road will be constructed from Cotta Road to Kaduwela, according to the Budget proposals which were not read out during the second reading of the Budget 2016 in parliament due to time constraints.
The project will be a public-private partnership, with the government allocating Rs.10 billion for the project.
A private party will engage in a build, operate, transfer contract, which infers that the road will have toll booths.
The government has not furnished further details on feasibility or an environment impact assessment yet.
Since transportation expert Professor Amal Kumarage recently pointed out that elevated highways cost around US$ 35-45 million per kilometre, the majority of investments will have to come from private parties.
The distance between the destinations is 15 kilometres along the existing road network.
If the road runs directly above or parallel to the existing main roads, costs may be less in terms of private land acquisition.
However, the recent Japan International Coorporation Agency (JICA) funded study for the Colombo Transport Master plan indicates that the most effective option is to set up a Bus Rapid Transit System and a Bus Priority Road running in parallel routes into Malable, which neighbours Kaduwela.
A BRT system costs around US$ 2 million per kilometre, and a widely implemented BRT system could handle the Colombo traffic and greatly minimize congestion until 2035 with half the number of 8,000 buses currently in operation in the Western Province.
A BRT system for the entire province would cost just Rs. 173 billion with an 86 percent rate of return for the investment each year, making it very attractive for private companies to invest in as well, Prof. Kumarage had said.
The JICA study had recommended an electric rail system as the 2nd best option for the Malabe traffic corridor, which costs around US$ 15-25 million per kilometre.
Recently, both Prof. Kumarage and Former Internal Transport Ministry Secretary Professor Lalithasiri Gunaruwan said that the government opts to go for projects of higher costs as they bring more glamour to the country. (CW)