COLOMBO - Four bridges in Sri Lanka are being restored with Government of Spain tsunami funding, improving access to schools, hospitals and markets for communities in remote eastern areas of the island nation.
The first bridge to be finished is at Irrakkakandi, and was officially inaugurated by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on October 20.
Three more permanent steel bridges are being erected in the north-eastern coastal region of Sri Lanka, two located north of Trincomalee in Pudavakattu and Yan Oya , and one just north of Batticaloa in Oddamavadi. The total length of new steel bridges is 1000 meters. All three bridges are scheduled to be completed and officially handed over to the Government of Sri Lanka by the first quarter of 2010.
The Irrakkakandi Bridge replaces a bridge damaged in the 2004 tsunami and at over 300 meters in length is one of Sri Lanka’s longest bridges. In many of the locations where bridges were damaged or destroyed, communities have had to rely on ferries to link them with schools, hospitals and markets.
The Government of Spain, with a soft loan to the Government of Sri Lanka, funded the € 21.6 million reconstruction programme as part of the post-tsunami relief efforts to restore major road infrastructure in the flood affected coastal areas of the country. The loan includes the supply of prefabricated steel components from the Spanish engineering firm CENTUNION. UNOPS as the implementing agency, managed, designed and constructed all four steel bridges.