Metro Colombo Urban Development project:
City streets turn people-friendly
The roads network of a city is necessarily reflect the reputation of
that city as it is one factor affecting the people visiting the city
whether they are locals or foreigners. If the city road network is in
good conditions that will positively be a factor to encourage the people
to walk around the city and stay there for longer period than they
expected to stay.
Even for a city dweller or an office worker using vehicles to travel
short distance to attend their daily need will be encouraged to walk on
the city streets if they feel that city streets are more safer for them
to walk rather than using a motor vehicles for their short distance
Therefore, more improved city road network with the unhindered
walk-ability will definitely contribute towards encouraging people to
walk on the city streets rather than using vehicles thus contributing to
the improved health condition and also to minimize environmental
The walk-ability improvement project under the Metro Colombo Urban
Development Project implemented by the Ministry of Defence and Urban
Development with the funds made available from the World Bank is also
aiming to make city streets more conducive for both motorists and the
According to Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban
Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the prime mover behind urban development
projects in the country, the facilitation of the pedestrians should also
be given priority as majority of the people visiting the Colombo city
are not using motor vehicles.
"Therefore, the pavements and walkways should also be improved
parallel to the improvement of the roads in the city as it will
facilitate the pedestrians to reach their destinations without facing
any obstacles", he said commenting on the Colombo city development
project at a function held at the Colombo Town Hall premises.
"The city beautification is an added advantage form the project we
implement to streamline and to improve the required infrastructure
facilities to the city dwellers", he said.
Therefore, the walk-ability improvement project that is being
underway in Union Place, Slave Island areas in the city becomes a major
attaction to the Colombo city very soon.
According to Rohan Seneviratne the Project Manager of the Metro
Colombo Urban Development Project and also an Additional Secretary to
the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, under the walk-ability
improvement package of the MCUDP 12 kilometres of the city road network
will be developed. The Colombo Municipal Council will be the
implementing agency of the walk-ability improvement project. Colombo
Municipal Council is providing the facility of a road network for the
642,000 citizens and daily commuters of 400,000 per day and it is the
duty of the CMC to rehabilitate and maintain the total of 480 kilo
meters of road network in Colombo city.
"The objective of improving walk ability is to provide more
convenient and clean walkways for pedestrians while improving the image
of the city", Rohan Seneviratne said.
The roads in the city have been developed by not providing adequate
facilities to the pedestrians. But, modern urban development focuses
towards providing more facilities for the pedestrians. And providing
additional spaces for vehicle parking within the city.
"Therefore, this project will be a blessing to make the city more
attractive and pedestrian friendly", he said.
According to Engineer Devika Abeysuriya, Deputy Project Manager, Walk
-ability Improvement Project, the project is now underway in three
packages and all the three packages are now in the implementation stage.
The project components includes the re-construction of foot walks,
providing additional parking bays, introduction of traffic signals (in
selected roads), Provide street lighting (as required), improvement of
storm water disposal system, keep provision for future utility services,
landscaping and beautification, provision of street furniture and the
asphalt surfacing, she said.
Accordingly 1185 metres of the Vauxhall Street (1,185 m) will be
developed with foot walks landscaping and street lighting, ducting and
asphalt overlaying while doing the asphalt overalying in the, Kew Road,
Vauxhall lane, Police Lane, Morgan Road, Dawson Road, Kew Points road,
Bahiathulla Lane and Barracks Lane that are connected to Vauxhall street
and other major roads in the city.
Accordingly under package I of the project total of 2.605 kilometres
of city roads which have not been rehabilitated for long time will be
"We are doing full development of the Vauxhall Street. We are doing
only the asphalt overlaying of other roads because we have no space to
improve them further. But we have provided some walkability facilities
since lot of people are living there in this part of the city", Engineer
Under the package II of the walk-ability improvement project Sir
Chitthampalam A Gardiner Mawatha, a section of the Lotus Road in Fort,
M.M. Marker Mawatha, Justice Akbar Mawatha and Rifle Street will be
"All the roads comes under the package II will be developed with foot
walks, landscaping, street lighting, ducting. The asphalt overlaying of
Sir Chitthampalam A Gardiner Mawatha and Lotus Road will be done from
the funds made available from the CMC. Accordingly 1.965 kilometres of
road length will be developed under this package.
The package III of the walkability improvement project will cover 3
kilo meters of road of the Kumaran Rathnam Road, Dr. Colvin R. de Silva
Mawatha in Union Place, T.B. Jayah Mawatha.
"The construction of footwalks , landscaping , street lighting will
be done in all three roads. The asphalt overlaying of these three roads
will be done using the funds from the Colombo Municipal Council", she
said. The CMC is having a component on this and asphalt overlaying is
done with the CMC funding but the entire project comes under the walk
ability improvement project.
One important feature of this project is that the ducts are being
installed along all the roads which are being developed under this
project as these roads are subjected to excavations for service lines by
various agencies even immediately after the completion of construction.
"We have informed all the service providers like Water Supply and
Drainage Board, Ceylon Electricity Board, Sri Lanka Telecom and other
utility agencies that we will not allow them for any excavations for
five years after the completion of this project", she said.
"Therefore, utility agencies like CEB and Telecom also worked with
us. We asked them to do the augmentation work and we worked for them
free of charge by doing the excavation part for them since they find it
difficult to find funds. Usually we charge high fee for excavation. But
this time we have not charge any fee and we did it for them. Therefore,
restoration of water pipes was also done parallel to the project along
with the Water Board and the CEB and Sri Lanka Telecom did their own
service lines along with the project", she said.
For the usage of the private telecommunication providers, ducts were
laid after having discussion with the Telecommunication Regulatory
Commission. Therefore the private telecommunication service providers
can make use of those ducts to lay their cable lines when necessary
after paying a fee for the CMC.
"For this project we have selected roads which have not been
developed for long time. In other parts of the city roads have been
developed recently and therefore we have selected the roads in the Slave
Island area and Uinon Place for this project", she said.
Explaining the difficulties the contractors had to face, she said
when excavating the roads to lay new service lines they come across so
many cable lines with no owners. "Therefore we had to face many
difficulties in replacing them and shifting them", she said.
"Under this project contractors have not been allowed to work during
night according to the social and environmental conditions of the World
Bank. We don't allow them to work during the whole day. There are some
places where we cannot work during day time. Therefore under special
permission we are working in the night", she said.
Adding further details she said that certain roundabouts such as
Ceramic Junction connecting the Lotus Road and Lotus Road and the D.R.
Wijewardena Mawatha, and Lake House roundabout and Slave Island round
about will also be developed to suit the present traffic flow along
"We have redesigned Lake House roundabout to suit the present day
requirement since they have been designed long time ago considering the
traffic during those period" she said.
"To do the landscaping along the roads we have designated plants and
trees for each and every road. There are some trees along these roads
but we are not removing them. We will introduce new trees. In Union
Place we introduced local plans such as Dam Petham or Koboleela", she
Since there are no consultants for the project, the engineers and the
architects of the Colombo Municipal Council contributed doing all
required architectural and engineering designs and the contract
documents and contract specifications were done by the CMC engineers.
"The completion of the project will be beneficial for pedestrians,
motorists, residents in the city, people who need leisure and exercise,
cleaning crews, utility agencies and visitors. Since the parking
facilities are also improved, it will be helpful to reduce haphazard
parking and thus reduce traffic congestions", she said.
As the Galle road from Galdari Junction to the Kollupitiya and the
entire Duplication road and the Galle road upto Colombo city limits in
Wellawatte and the roads around the Town Hall square and the Vihara Maha
Devi park are also expected to be improved to high standards with
disable access, decent paving considering architectural features,
provision of modern street furniture and landscaping the improvements of
these roads will add more beauty to the city. According to Rohan
Seneviratne, the Colombo Municipal Council their engineers their
planners are all working for the projects.
"Most of the engineering designs, specifications, preparation of
tender books, and then evaluation awarding of contracts and things like
that comes under this project are being done by the implementing
agencies since there is no consultants to the project. By doing so we
have been able to save at least 10 per cent of the funds", he said.
"For each and every project under the Metro Colombo Urban Development
Project we must do a thorough social safeguard process and a
environmental safeguard process. So we have already decide social
safeguard framework and environmental safeguard framework for each and
every project. Based on the framework we have developed and we are
implementing all these projects", he said.
"He said they are very strict about the quality of the material used
by the contractors. We are closely supervising and checking each and
every sample material they use for these projects. We have assigned our
teams to supervise and approve them. Samples are tested in our labs to
see the samples are right. Specially the street lamps their lamps
fittings curbs, curbing material, interlocks interlocking materials road
surface all of them are tested by our engineers assigned to those
tasks", he said.
"Therefore we are expecting to complete the projects under the Metro
Colombo Urban Development Project with high quality and standards", he