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New roads to ease congestion in capital

6 January 2012 08:41 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Sri Lanka has started a study to plan new roads to ease congestion in the capital Colombo and provide fast connections to expressways, the head of the island's Road Development Authority said.

RDA chairman R W Pemasiri said heavy congestion is seen on High Level Road, Baseline Road and from Malabe to the Parliament Junction.

"The new roads can be elevated on built on the ground," Pemasiri said. "We will have a firm idea after the feasibility study is completed."

Roads around Sri Lanka's parliament in the administrative capital of Sri Jayewardenepura became heavily congested from early last year, residents say. Access to Colombo to fast developing areas like Malabe, falls through the area.

In 2010 Sri Lanka cut taxes on motor cars and monthly imports of cars alone are now around 4,000 to 5,000 units adding to the fleet compared to about 500 cars two years ago.

About 1,200 dual purpose vehicles are also registered compared to less than two hundred a few months ago.

Before that tax slashed or tax free cars were only available to state workers and the ruling class of elected legislators. Critics point out that even now ordinary second class citizens, pay higher taxes for cars than elected legislators and state workers.

About 40,000 new vehicles are now put on Sri Lankan roads each month compared to about 20,000 two years ago. This includes about 20,000 motor cycles and 11,000 three wheelers, which are mostly used as taxis.

While more cars on the roads improve mobility of citizens and allow the state to collect more taxes from fuel (petrol is sold at a little less than double the cost) congestion can make increase inefficiencies by wasting time and fuel.

Capital cities which are economic hubs also need fast transport. Many countries have mass transit systems to supplement roads.

Sri Lanka is also building several expressways. The first expressway to the South is already open and another to an international airport north of Colombo is being built. An expressway to the central hill city of Kandy is also planned.

Pemasiri said the feasibility study will also look at how to optimise approaches to the new expressways. (Source: LBO)

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