Colombo light rail transit project construction work will commence today under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Urban and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said that the LRT project is being implemented as a measure to ease the traffic congestion in and around Colombo city.
The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has officially announced the introduction of a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system under the financial assistance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), making history as a revolution of Sri Lanka’s transportation system.
Sri Lanka, presently in middle-income category 2, focuses on long-term strategic and structural growth problems as it seeks the shift to an upper middle-income country. One of the main projects in this regard is the suggested Megapolis Master Plan for the Western Region. The Western Region Megapolis Transport Master Plan was then created, incorporating the said Megapolis structure plan, covering all elements of transportation to provide a basis for the growth of urban transport in the Western Region up to 2035. One of the Transport Master Plan’s suggested main projects is the implementation of a Light Rail Transit system.
Starting from Fort Station, Phase One will have stations near the Western Province Transport Center, St. Joseph’s College, National Hospital, Borella, Cotta Road, Welikada, Rajagiriya, Sethsiripaya, Battaramulla, Palan Thuna, Robert Gunawardana Mawatha, Lumbini Temple, Talahena, Malabe and IT Park; a total of 15.8 km with 16 stops along the road. The remaining six stages would see the Light Rail system extending further to Kottawa, Kadawatha, and Peliyagoda within Colombo and into the District of Colombo. The suggested Light Rail system will be driven by electricity only and will originally consist of four compartments enabling up to 165 passengers to be transported simultaneously by one single train. The rail system would be further expanded once finished in 2023 to reach the cities of Homagama, Horana and Mirigama.
The project Colombo Light Rail is a public-private partnership, and a low-interest Japanese loan will fund the first stage of the project.