Sri Lankan government Â has green-lighted a proposal by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development to enter into a public-private partnership (PPP) with Port City developer CHEC Port City Colombo Ltd. to build a tunnel linking the road network of the mainland and an artificial island.
A proposal presented by Minister Champika Ranwaka seeking approval to enter into a PPP to carry out the underground Marine Drive extension work with the developer, a subsidiary of China Harbour Engineering Company managed by State-owned China Communication Construction Company Ltd. (CCCC) Group, was approved by Cabinet, Cabinet Co-Spokesperson Gayantha Karunathilaka told journalists.
Ranawaka has informed Cabinet in his proposal that the tunnel will contribute to Colombo â€œby way of a North-South link connecting the Airport Highway to Marine Drive, while increasing the width of the Galle Face Green without disturbing the heritage buildings of the Old Parliament Building, Galle Face Hotel building, etc.â€
Further, the Minister envisaged that the tunnel can also provide an underground road connection to the Shangri-la Hotel area.
The proposal to set up the PPP comes as a result of a request made by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development for a proposal on a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis for undertaking the required studies and financing of the construction of the underground Marine Drive Extension Project from Chaithya Road to Marine Drive near Kollupitiya Railway Station, with access to the Port City.
In response the company has informed the Ministry that it would be willing to â€œconsider sponsoring the technical feasibility study cost of the Marine Drive Extension up to the tunnelâ€™s connection pointâ€ provided that the company is given first preference in the undertaking, Ranawaka informed Cabinet in his proposal.
The company has already commenced technical feasibility studies on the project, while the Road Development Authority (RDA) has started an Environmental Impact Assessment as well.
However, the company has now requested to sign a Memorandum of Understanding in order to justify the costs to its principals and to ensure that the Government will evaluate and negotiate the PPP project on an exclusive basis, Minister Ranawaka noted.