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* Sri Lanka President opens Sangupiddy Bridge connecting Jaffna and mainland for public
Sun, Jan 16, 2011, 09:26 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 16, Jaffna: Realizing the dream of traveling to Jaffna through one of the most scenic land routes, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today opened the Sangupiddy Bridge, that connects Jaffna peninsula in Northern Province to the mainland in the shortest distance at Pooneryn.

The 288-meters long bridge with two lanes was constructed under the Uthura Wasanthaya programme at a cost of 1.037 billion rupees. The British government provided the financial assistance for the project.

With the opening of the bridge there will be two land access routes to the Jaffna Peninsula.

The Sangupiddy Bridge that connects the A-32 road from Mannar to Jaffna across the lagoon is the shortest land route to Jaffna from Colombo. The A-32 road is 120 kilometers shorter than the way through the main A-9 Jaffna-Kandy highway. Through the Sangupiddy Bridge the traveling time to Jaffna will be reduced by three hours.

The Tamil Tiger rebels who controlled the area before their defeat blasted the bridge decades ago. Before its destruction, thousands of people used the bridge daily. The government started the reconstruction of the bridge soon after the cessation of hostilities in May 2009.

In parallel to the construction of the Bridge, the Puttalam-Mannar and Pooneryn-Jaffna roads are also being reconstructed under the direct supervision of the President. The local engineers are playing a significant role in the construction.

Ministers Basil Rajapaksa, Douglas Devananda, Governor of the North Major General Jagath Chandrasiri, Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasooriya, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Somathilake Dissanayake, Inspector General of Police Dr. Mahinda Balasooriya, and senior government officials also were present.

(Photos by Sudath Silva)

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