Mar 11, 2019 (LBO) – A concessionary loan agreement for JPY 30,040 million (approx. 48 billion rupees) was signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for engineering services and construction of a Light Rail Transit (LRT) line between Malabe and Colombo Fort, recently.
The loan will finance Sri Lanka’s first rail-based, electrified urban mass rapid transit line. It will serve to connect the Colombo’s commercial hub with the administrative capital, and significantly reduce travel time in the most congested transport corridor in the country, and the only major corridor currently not supported by railway.
The Malabe-Fort LRT line has a total length of approximately 16 km, with 16 stations.
The stations are placed at frequently accessed locations and include Malabe-IT Park, Battaramulla, Rajagiriya, Cotta Road Railway Station, National Hospital up to current Fort/Pettah Railway Station.
The entire rail track and stations will be on elevated viaducts to minimize requirement of land acquisition.
At peak travel times in the morning and evening, trains are planned to run every 2-3 minutes (headway). Each 4-carriage train will have a passenger capacity of over 800, which could be increased by adding more carriages in future when necessary. With a 80km/h top speed, travel time from Malabe to Fort will be approximately 30 minutes (incl. stopping time at stations) with the LRT.
Sri Lanka has requested for the cost of infrastructure, rolling stock and engineering services to be financed through a series of time-slice loans from JICA, in line with the annual fund requirement for the Project.
To facilitate inter-connectivity with other public transport modes, multi modal terminals are proposed at Malabe (together with bus terminal) and Cotta Road (connecting with railway).
At Fort/Pettah the LRT line will connect to the planned multi modal transport hub accessible to both railway and bus.
The feasibility study including the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Malabe-Fort LRT line was conducted with grant financing from JICA. The EIA has been approved by the Central Environmental Authority.
Although the elevated viaduct will minimize the requirement, some land acquisition is needed at the depot and some of the station locations.
The Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development, the executing agency for the Project, will conduct such acquisition in accordance with the National Involuntary Resettlement Policy, and JICA’s environmental and social considerations guidelines to ensure inclusive development through public projects.