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Connecting Points

by Lanka Business Online, January 16, 2006

Japan gives Sri Lanka millions of rupees to link Mannar to the mainland

Japan on Tuesday gave Sri Lanka 30 million rupees to design a new bridge connecting Mannar to the mainland, the finance ministry said.

The grant will be used to draw up a detailed design of a 157.1 metre, ten-metre wide bridge and to improve and expand the causeway between the points.

About 3.14 kilometers of the causeway is to be improved and expanded to 11 meters in width on the Medawachchiya – Mannar- Thalaimannar (A 14) road in the northwestern coastal belt of Sri Lanka, the ministry said.

The existing bridge and causeway, which is the only access road connecting Mannar Island and the mainland, was constructed in the 1930’s, with a narrow, single lane.

Mannar bridge, Eelavision.com

The bridge was damaged in a bomb blast in 1990 and was replaced with a temporary, narrow bailey bridge and is restricted for heavy vehicles of over ten tones.

The movements along the causeway are frequently interrupted during the monsoons due to high tidal waves affecting smooth transportation as well as traffic safety.

Some 40,000 people living on Mannar Island are expected to directly benefit from the new bridge, the ministry said, improving market accessibility and transportation.

Once the detailed designs are completed, Japan is also likely to fund construction of the 1.75 billion-rupee bridge and causeway, with work expected to begin in 2009.

The Road Development Authority under the supervision of the Ministry of Highways will implement the project.