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Sunday, 12 May 2013

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Rail gates for 775 unprotected level crossings

A comprehensive program is now under way to install rail gates at 775 unprotected level crossings which have become a virtual death trap for many motorists and pedestrians, General Manager of Railways B.A.P. Ariyaratne told the Sunday Observer.

He said the 149 level crossings fitted with bamboo gates and manned by people have also been treated as unprotected level crossings as the safety of those gates depends on the person handling it.

"We have to treat them also as unprotected level crossings as we have to dismantle them one day", he said.

He said the Department has already called for tenders from the private sector to install rail gates at the 45 unprotected level crossings and a contractor has already begun to install them. "Work is due to be completed this year", he said. "We are calling for tenders for another 30 unprotected level crossings and we will award the contracts in a month or two. Hopefully, we could also complete it within a year", he said.

"Last year we called for tenders for 200 level crossing. However, due to some disputes in the bidding documents, the contract could not be awarded. It was then recalled and we will be able to award that tender this year with Cabinet approval. We will probably start the installation next year, he said.

"We will be able to complete about 15 level crossing this year and another 15 next year. Likewise we could complete about 300 level crossing and that would solve the Problem a great deal", he said.Commenting on the low cost rail gates, Ariyaratne said that when installing the rail gates the Department has ensured that they would not malfunction. "If we have that guarantee we would buy them. Else the Railway Department would have to compensate victims if the rail gates do not operate properly", he said.

 

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