The New Kelani Bridge was declared opened by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, yesterday. The new bridge was constructed to mitigate and ease the traffic congestion on the Kelani Bridge due to vehicles entering and leaving Colombo.
The Government of Sri Lanka and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) prepared the initial plans for the bridge in 2012 and its feasibility study was conducted in 2013. The Cabinet approved the construction of the bridge in 2014. The relevant agreements were also signed in the same year, according to Presidential Secretariat.
Construction works began in 2017 after providing houses for the affected People as well as after providing alternative places for the public and private institutions that were affected by the project. The cost of the project is Rs. 55,000 million and it took four years to complete the project.
The Bridge consists of six lanes from the entrance of the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway towards the Bandaranaike Roundabout and from that point onwards, the flyover will be four lanes towards Orugodawatte and the Ingurukade Junction. This will enable access to the elevated expressways from Ingurukade Junction to the Colombo Port City and from Orugodawatta to Athurugiriya.
It is significant that the bridge has been constructed in such a way that it does not obstruct the flow of the Kelani River and that many species of plants including Koboneela, Esala, May -Mara, Mee and Kumbuk have been planted on both sides of the main road to protect the beauty of the environment.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of infrastructure development projects have been initiated. While stating that all these activities will continue, President Rajapaksa said that all the promised projects will be completed if there are no other lockdowns in the country in the future.