New Marine Drive to ease traffic congestion
The much talked of and long anticipated New Marine Drive is now
getting ready for a comfortable and breezy drive. A project in the
pipeline for nearly a decade is gaining momentum as construction has
begun and the blueprint has got the green light.
The Marine Drive near Bambalapitiya
The Marine Drive was constructed with the prime objective of easing
traffic congestion on Galle Road and evenly distributing it to both
The stretch from Bambalapitiya to Kollupitiya parallel to the Galle
road, is now open and it is to be extended up to Galle Face.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a surprise visit to the construction
site of the Marine Drive to review progress.
Plans are under way to fill the sea from Kollupitiya up to Galle Face
alongside the railway line.
"This is a mammoth project that has now reached construction stage,"
an official from the Urban Development Authority (UDA) said. The Colombo
Municipality would play a major role in this regard.
The proposed drive would end at the start of the Galle Face Green
from the Galle Face hotel area and it would be then connected to the
Galle Road from the Galle Face roundabout.
The official said that at first they wanted to reclaim land adjoining
the railway line but had to abandon the idea as it was far too expensive
to pay compensation. "There were also several landmark buildings such as
the British, Indian and US missions, along with the Colombo Swimming
Club, Galle Face Hotel and St. Thomas' Preparatory School and several
other prime proprieties that would have lost their value if we went
ahead to acquire their lands," the official said.
He also said that this is the first time land was being reclaimed in
Sri Lanka to build a new road.
The existing waterways will be widened, deepened and improved for
transport, mainly to serve the administrative blocks, for the
convenience of those who transact business with government departments.
The private sector too has been invited, in addition to the Navy to
operate boat services for passengers. Meanwhile, one of the biggest
problems of the business establishments in Colombo are to be solved as
the government has decided to allow parking on Galle Road from
Bambalapitiya to Kollupitiya. Already there is a boat service operating
from the Open University Nawala to Wellawatta area.
"We will allow parking on both sides of the Galle Road as there were
several requests to do so," said Chairman UDA Janaka Kurukulasuriya.
He said that already parking bays are being constructed on both sides
of the road and facilities are also being provided for buses on the sea
side of the Galle Road.
He said that they have also talked to shop owners on either side of
this stretch to have uniformity in buildings.
"We will soon decide on a colour scheme for the area," he said.
The stretch from Bambalapitiya and Kollupitiya is a highly
illuminated area in the night. "We see several different colours which
makes it an eye sore.
The UDA along with the CMC would talk to the business establishments
and request them to have a single colour for illumination as a bid to
beautify this area," he said.He also said that the response they get
from the business establishments for this is very encouraging.