Following allegations pertaining to the alleged use of inferior quality substandard raw material in the construction of the Matara to Belliatta (Section 1) stretch of the Southern expressway extension project, the Road Development Authority (RDA) is scheduled to visit Singapore next week to have the material tested independently.

The length of the stretch, the physical progress of which is at 15.3% as at the end of last year, is 30 kilometres with a width of 24.4 metres. The project pertaining to the particular stretch which was begun in January last year is scheduled to be completed by 2019 July. The consultancy firm is Chinese.

“If the material such as bearing pads, expansion joints and geogrids, the latter is used based on the requirement, prove to be of inferior quality, the consultant will not approve of such and in turn the RDA will not approve the payments to the contractor cum developer,” an RDA source said.

Meanwhile, a three-member committee chaired by Additional Secretary of the Engineering Division of the Ministry of Higher Education and Highways, Engineer H.C.S. Gunatilake and including Director General of the RDA, D.K.R. Swarna and an Additional Director General of the RDA, has conducted an inquiry into the matter subsequent to visiting the site, and have since submitted a confidential report to the Secretary to the Ministry, D.C.

Dissanayake. The RDA source confirmed the conducting of the inquiry by the committee.
“Personnel from the RDA and the consultant have decided to go to Singapore next week. It is good to have eyewitnesses at the testing, yet even if there are not, the result from the said lab would have to be accepted nonetheless,” the source further said.

However, both the RDA source and the source at the Ministry confirmed that in general there was no issue regarding the construction to the level that had been portrayed by online media. Deputy Director of the Interchange Office (Southern Expressway) of the Expressway Operation, Maintenance and Management Division of the RDA of Pinnaduwa, M.S. Nilawfer was not available for a comment.