Sri Lanka moots light railway for Colombo region

Colombo, Feb 28 (IANS) Sri Lanka on Tuesday said it has begun a feasibility study on building a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system here with expressions of interest and request for proposals to be called by year-end.

According to Dimantha De Silva, a megapolis transport planner, an LRT system was needed to meet the anticipated transport demand in the planned Western Province megapolis region.

“We need to provide a sustainable solution for transport for the next 20 years, not for five years,” Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

“We cannot build it and take it out. By 2035, our forecast is 30,000 passengers per hour per direction in some transport corridors in the Colombo Metropolitan Region (CMR),” De Silva said.

The LRT project will initially consist of two lines of 25 km connecting Colombo with the Malabe suburb, a road corridor now the most congested in the Colombo Metropolitan Region.

LRT was proposed as it has a capacity of 30,000 passengers per hour per direction and covers the distance in 25 minutes as opposed to one and a half hours by road currently, and would not conflict with other modes of transport, De Silva said.

Planners have forecast that by 2035 the number of passengers in the main transport corridors within the CMR would rise from 1.9 million to 4.5 million.