Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 10 November 2013





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Colombo - Katunayake Expressway:

A boon for the economy, a blessing for commuters

The Colombo-Katunayake Expressway was Sri Lanka's latest addition to its fast growing road network, and it was vested with the public on October 27. President Mahinda Rajapaksa commissioned the expressway and unveiled a plaque at a function held at the E-03 Kelaniya entrance on the morning of the 27th.

The Colombo – Katunayake Expressway

Sri Lanka’s second E Class Expressway with a length of 25.8 Km, linking Colombo with the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Katunayake had cut down the travel time of daily commuters and will boost economic growth in the country in many ways, many Western Province citizens opine.

“During the last 20 years, we only heard about an expressway project, but this year we witnessed its opening and I believe it's like a dream come true for Sri Lanka. This Expressway would actually save a lot of time,” a daily traveller to Colombo who earlier used the Colombo - Chilaw Highway said.

According to him, it had taken over two hours on busy traffic hours and sometimes one and a half hours to travel to Colombo from Katunayake and Negombo. But now, he is able cover the same distance almost within an average time of 15 to 20 minutes via the the public transport available on the Expressway.

Meanwhile, another commuter, Shalini Pathirana pointed out that ever since the Expressway opened, she had been able to travel within an hour to Colombo from Negombo on the normal highway that used to steal over four hours from her daily man-hours for the last five years, ever since she started to work in Colombo.

“Some days I travel on the Expressway, but when I feel that there’s a huge crowd waiting in the queues for the Expressway buses, I take the normal highway route and still I have cut down over two hours from my travel time,” Pathirana said.

Luxury coach service

The Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) has already launched a luxury coach service including 26 bus turns per day on the Colombo - Katunayake Expressway route and the bus services commenced from the Colombo Central Bus Stand travelling to Katunayake and the Negombo bus station.

The bus fare is Rs.150 from Colombo to Negombo while from Colombo to Katunayake, the fare is Rs. 130.

According to the SLTB, the bus service will also be introduced between Colombo and Ja-Ela in the near future for which Rs.100 will be charged as bus fare. With the boom in commuters who seek to travel via public transport on the Expressway, many privately-owned public transport services including private bus operators and some cab-services operating on the Colombo - Negombo route had experienced a large drop in their passenger numbers.

“Now I have seen many private bus operators leaving the Negombo or Colombo bus stations on time because they have started witnessing less people getting in to their buses unlike earlier when the private bus operators used to, sometimes, even demand a higher fee since they had monopoly status to run luxury intercity express services on the Colombo - Negombo route.”

“It’s worth a ride and I am always early for the morning meetings which I missed many times, and half of my daily salary is now saved, and I hardly cross the red line on punching my fingerprint on the scanner machine at office thanks to the Expressway and the luxury coaches,” a junior investor who travels from Katunayake to Colombo on a daily basis said.

On the other hand, the daily commuters on the Colombo - Negombo highway had experienced a drop in numbers and further reduced travel time since an average of over 2,500 to 3,000 vehicles are now taking the Expressway instead of the normal highway.

“As industries and companies, we have got the opportunity to save our fuel bills, time and employees' man-hours,” said an export manager of a manufacturing establishment in Colombo that sends several export shipments to the Katunayake Airport via air cargo.

He said their containers that take the normal Colombo - Katunayake route had cut down travel costs due to less traffic that affects the fuel consumption of engines, while the company had been able to send shipments that are being transported via lorries on the expressway route.

Managing director of a Colombo-based distribution chain and equipment manufacturing firm said that even though it cost Rs. 600 per day to travel to Colombo and return on the Expressway, it is worth it since it has saved a lot of travel time from his daily routine.

“I have saved over 90 minutes from my travel time, and there were days that I had to stay over at the office until the rush hours pass, from 4:30 pm – 8.00 pm, until the traffic fades away on the Colombo - Negombo route.” He said, smiling, that now he is able to go home early and leave home even slightly late, allowing a little more time to spend with his family.

Reduced travel time

This fee-levying Expressway had drastically reduce the time taken to travel between Colombo and Katunayake with an average of 20 minutes and had lessened traffic congestion on the Colombo - Puttalam road.

“We believe Sri Lanka’s second expressway will create a faster road link between the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and Colombo, the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. And once all the expressways are completed in the near future, there will be a direct link through expressways from Matara or Kandy to the BIA, Katunayake. It will undoubtedly help boost tourism in the country,” A.M. Jaufer, President of the Chamber of Tourism and Industry said.

Earlier, it had taken over one and a half hours to reach Colombo from Katunayake. The new Expressway has reduced the travel time to 20 minutes. It will provide hassle-free travel to Colombo for overseas visitors arriving at the BIA,” Jaufer noted.

The maximum speed on this four-lane Expressway is 100kmph and a number of international standard features have been added to ensure the safety of motorists. Special attention had also paid during construction to preserving the natural environment as the Expressway winds its way through the Muthurajawela marshes and the Negombo lagoon.

Sound barriers are also in place to control noise pollution.

The Expressway also has communication facilities placed at frequent intervals to assist motorists during emergencies.

The entire extent of the E-03 is covered by CCTV cameras and 54 large screens at the central operation room at Seeduwa to help authorities monitor the Expressway 24 hours of the day. Emergency exits have also been established for emergency casualty evacuation.

An economist, on the grounds of anonymity, pointed out that the Western Province, being the province with an over five million population and Colombo being the commercial capital with many daily commuters travelling in and out of the city, the Colombo - Katunayake Expressway is indeed a ‘need of the hour’ since it had reduced over 500,000 man-hours of more than 150,000 people who are daily contributing to the economic activity of the country.

He notes that more efficient public transport systems and expressways that cut down travel time on heavy traffic routes will indirectly contribute to economic growth in terms of creating lower demand for imported personal vehicles that in turn create a healthy exchange rate for the rupee, saving man-hours of the country’s workforce and labour force while eliminating various socio-economic problems that affect family lives of the society that in turn increase turnover rates of citizens.

“I believe the Government’s decision on investing in such infrastructure facilities is commendable,” he said.


Donate Now |
LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL)

| News | Editorial | Finance | Features | Political | Security | Sports | Spectrum | Montage | Impact | World | Obituaries | Junior | Youth |


Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2013 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Comments and suggestions to : Web Editor