By Nabiya Vaffoor
The first phase of the new Kelani Bridge’s steel construction cost Rs 31,539 million, while the second phase of the bridge’s casting concrete deck cost Rs 9,896 million, Minister of Highways Johnston Fernando said.
“The new Kelani Bridge is a type of latest engineering design known as extradosed type that uses stay cables to connect two main pylons with the bridge deck and to share weight of the loads from the bridge deck,” he added. Fernando added that with the opening of the new Kelani Bridge, the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway will connect the capital to the country’s main destinations.
“With the completion of the new Kelani Bridge, the ColomboKatunayake Expressway will connect the capital to the country’s main international airport via a six-lane road, as well as connecting the elevated highway to Athurugiriya and the Port Elevated Highway to the Port City. The new bridge is 380 metres long and was built in two phases.
The first phase, which covered the steel construction of the bridge, cost Rs 31,539 million, while the second phase, which covered the casting concrete deck of the bridge, cost Rs 9,896 million,” he added. He also said the Government would not halt any development projects due to difficulties or the pandemic.
“One of the most serious errors made by the Yahapalana Government was taking credit for development projects initiated by then President Mahinda Rajapaksa. They halted some projects for various reasons, including a lack of capacity and calibre to carry out such mega development projects envisioned for people’s use in the next century.
The Port City Development Project was the first such project that they had halted,” Fernando added. He claimed that this project, too, had been delayed for a variety of reasons; otherwise, it would have been finished by now and people would have been using it. “Some Opposition members blame us, claiming that we can only work with China. We collaborate not only with China, but also with Japan and the United Kingdom.
We collaborate with many countries other than China, and this bridge was built with the help of Japanese engineering technology as an example. Several countries have expressed an interest in assisting our development process and investing here. Those who criticise us are only interested in sabotaging our work. No one would fall for their ruse,” he claimed. He said so during the centreclosure of the new extradosed bridge over the Kelani River.