Prime Minister outlines measures to ease traffic congestion hindering economic development in major cities

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says the construction of the Rajagiriya flyover will be completed soon and will be vested with public on 9th January next year.

The Premier accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Development Dr. Harsha de Silva made an inspection visit today to the Rajagiriya flyover to observe the final stages of the construction.

About 95 percent of the construction of the flyover has now been completed.

Speaking to media after the inspection tour, the Prime Minister said the road congestion is a big problem for the country’s economic development.

“This requires a short-term, medium- and long-term plans, and the government’s intention is to construct roads according to a plan instead of constructing everywhere,” the Premier said.

“We have experienced the harm done to our economy because of traffic congestion. It is also a big problem for social life. All these facts should be understood and need to find solutions systematically. It is normal for people to blame the government for traffic congestion and therefore we will take steps to resolve this problem,” the Premier said.

He said all these measures are medium-term moves to strengthen the economy of the country.

“If this is not done there is no future for the youth. On one side we need to free the country from the debt burden and on the other side we must make the full use of the projects that we take loans for. Our programs are based on this goal,” Prime Minister explained.

He said the government hopes to construct an expressway road network from Kandy to Hambanthota and also to reduce traffic congestion in Colombo and Kandy cities.

“The Government is planning to construct a highway from the Kelani Bridge to Fort. This highway will be connected to Rajagiriya from the HSBC junction. There will be several new highways in the future as they are needed,” he said.

“Our new road construction program will greatly reduce traffic congestion in those cities. In addition we also will implement programs such as light rail transit systems to ease the traffic congestion. All these measures are necessary to strengthen our economy.”

Pointing out that the government has created nearly 400,000 job opportunities for the youth and I the process of building houses and making 13 years of education compulsory, the Premier said all these measures are part of the sustainable development the government hopes to achieve.

“If this foundation is not laid we cannot make the change we hoped,” he said adding that the government hopes to make a huge difference economically, politically and socially.

Accordingly, the Rajagiriya flyover can be considered as a change in the economic sector and it will provide a solution to the traffic congestion in this area, the Premier noted.

The Rajagiriya Flyover project at a cost of Rs. 4.7 billion is funded by a concessionary loan from the Government of Spain. The four-lane flyover is 534 meter long.

After completion of the flyover, a special traffic plan will be implemented between Battaramulla and Borella to ease the traffic congestion in Rajagiriya and its suburbs.

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