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The first phase of the government’s planned longest overhead bridge in Rajagiriya which broke ground last week is set to be completed at the end of 2017 and the second is scheduled to be completed in late 2018, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Harsha De Silva said last week. The Road Development Authority states that this 534-metre long, four lane overhead bridge costing Rs. 5 billion and funded under the relief credit line by the Government of Spain, will be the longest of this nature in Sri Lanka.

“70% of this amount will be obtained at the relief interest rate of 0.15%.  This loan is for a 40 year period with a grace period of 04 years. The remaining 30% will be obtained at the interest rate of 1.95%.  This amount should be paid back within 13 years with a grace period of 03 years,” Deputy Minister, Dr. De Silva said in a statement.

According to the statement, it is expected that the time taken to travel from Nelum Pokuna to Battaramulla following the completion of this project would be halved from the present period of time consumed.

“The average speed of a vehicle from Diyatha Uyana to Devi Balika Vidyalaya is presently about 2.5-3 kilometres per hour, as a result of the heavy traffic congestion.  In the evening, this speed is about 09 kilometres per hour. It is estimated that the speed recommended for the section from Diyatha Uyana to Devi Balika Vidyalaya would increase up to 20 km per hour,” the statement said noting that it is estimated that generally more than 100,000 vehicles are moving across the Welikada Junction Rajagiriya daily.

“When these vehicles enter into the main road from by-roads, it causes delays for the vehicles which are travelling on the main road.  Therefore our expectation is to use this flyover for the vehicles which travel directly to Colombo and for those which travel from Colombo to Battaramulla.  The experts in the field of transportation have stated that this will be a solution for the heavy traffic in the city.” Dr. Harsha de Silva said.