The new Port Highway Project and the Colombo East Terminal Development project will help Sri Lanka move away from an economy based on the colonial period, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.
Attending the launch of the Port Highway Project, he said it was the present government which had constructed a new road network after those built by the British.
“The British constructed the Colombo-Kandy Road, the Galle Road and the Port. This was the beginning of our road system. We will build a new Colombo city and a new country. We cannot depend on the economy which was built during the colonial period. We have to modernise our economy,” the Prime Minister said. “This government had embarked on changing this system. These plans came into being 20 to 30 years ago. The Southern Expressway was originally proposed in 1992. The Colombo-Kandy Expressway, the outer circular road was proposed in 2003. It was these plans which were taken forward. It was decided to expedite these projects when we came to power. Therefore we see the outer circular road and the central highway projects progressing. The complaint against us is that we don’t give publicity to the work we are carrying out. We did these when the country was facing several issues such as the debt trap.”
The Prime Minister said this government had planned several roads to enable the people to travel to the Colombo City and the Port Highway was one of them.
“There is one more elevated highway towards Rajagiriya. The light train project is also about to get underway. Therefore the government had begun constructing a new road network. People will get to enjoy the benefits of this in two year’s time. The road development projects are a part of the mega plan to build a megacity. Colombo is set to become the most beautiful city in South Asia,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the government would develop the Colombo Port and construct the Colombo East Terminal. “There will be a new economy as a result of these projects and an export-based economy. We will become a centre in the Indian Ocean,” he said.
Minister of Highways and Road Development and Petroleum Resources, Kabir Hashim said an elevated highway will connect the Kelani Bridge and the Port City with the highway standing on columns with the project estimated to cost US$300 million.