Mar 28, Colombo: The Government of Japan under its Yen Loan scheme has provided financial assistance to Sri Lanka to construct a second bridge over the Kelani River.
Japan has granted the 44thYen Loan amounting to approximately Rs. 45 billion (Japanese Yen 35.02 billion) to Sri Lanka towards the Second New Kelani Bridge Construction Project.
Ambassador of Japan Nobuhito Hobo and Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning Dr. P.B. Jayasundera Friday (March 28) signed the Exchange of Notes for the Yen Loan at the Ministry.
The Sri Lankan government has proposed to construct a new bridge over the Kelani River to ease the traffic congestion on the roads linking suburbs to the capital Colombo city as the traffic to the capital has been steadily increasing and the bridges over the Kelani River have become bottlenecks.
The project would provide for a new 6-lane elevated bridge parallel to the existing New Kelani Bridge in order to accommodate the heavy inflow of traffic along and around the New Kelani Bridge.
The new bridge will serve as a gateway to Colombo, since it will extend link-up with the Colombo Katunayake Expressway as well as have access to the Port Access Road and Baseline Road.
The project has been designed by considering the estimated future traffic volume around the Kelani Bridge from 2022 to 2035.
The Government of Japan has assisted in the development of Sri Lanka's road network in numerous ways aimed at improving connectivity, where it supported the construction of the Southern Expressway, Outer Circular Expressway as well as the construction of a large number of rural roads and bridges throughout the country.
The terms of the 44th Yen Loan is highly concessionary with very low interest rates and long-term repayment period that includes a 10 year grace period and the loan is administered by Japan's International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Japan has extended Yen Loans amounting to a total of 951.6 billion Yen to Sri Lanka since 1977.
All projects under the Yen Loan scheme are in line with the needs identified by the Government of Sri Lanka and are considered as national importance in terms of facilitating social and economic development in the country.
Japan hopes that these projects would enhance Japan's long-term cooperation in Sri Lanka's overall development process and improve the living conditions of the people.