Colombo-Katunayake Expressway Project: Selecting development options through environment-based planning approaches

Colombo is the capital city of Sri Lanka, situated on the West Coast of the country. The proposed high-speed road link is between Colombo City and Katunayake, the location of the international airport, which is situated about 25 km north of Colombo. The project would fulfil a long-felt need not only to facilitate passenger and freight movements between the two points, but also to ease the traffic from and to the northern part of the country.

At present the time taken to travel between the two points is between 45 minutes and one hour depending on the traffic. Travel between the Airport and City of Colombo is also hampered by the passenger and goods transport to and from Colombo and the northern part of the country. The inadequacy of the present facility will be a serious impediment to economic growth in the area and the country, as a whole.

The proposed alignment of the expressway would be 24.6 km in length with four lanes (expansion to six) each lane having a width of 3.5m. The design speed is 100 km/hr. The preferred and acceptable alignment (Western Trace) has been selected as the best option based on four primary options along with a ‘No Action’ Option.

The Colombo Katunayake Expressway (CKE) would pass through mostly marshy land, as well as built up land and the Negombo lagoon. Marshy areas having soft ground would undergo consolidation settlement which is a critical phase of the project. Soil movement, construction of embankments, filling of 1.9 km of the canal along with the canal deviation will be carried out. In addition, work on asphalt concrete pavement, construction of base course and sub-base course and construction of bridges over Dandugam Oya and Jaela will also be carried out.

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