The construction of Manmunai Bridge in Batticaloa will be inaugurated by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Japanese ambassador to Sri Lanka Nobuhito Hobo today.
The bridge will be constructed under 1,206 million Japanese yen grant assistance from JICA.
It will connect the East side of the lagoon where the Batticaloa township is located, with the agricultural area in the West side.
Access between the West and East sides are by a small ferry which can accommodate only two passenger cars.
The area is affected by floods two to three times a year, during which the ferry cannot operate, and people have to detour about 30kms to access the other side.
The new 210m bridge will connect the improved provincial roads on either side of the lagoon, and enable access to markets and services in the East side especially for the farming community in the West side.
It will also open an alternative road link to and from Batticaloa town to other areas.
The project is implemented by the Road Development Authority of the Ports and Highways Ministry in cooperation with JICA.
“We are very happy to have commenced Manmunai Bridge construction in the year that Sri Lanka and Japan are celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations. We hope this assistance will contribute to reducing regional disparities, and promote reconciliation among the Sri Lankan people,” Ao said.
JICA's recent assistance to Eastern Province include the reconstruction of rural and national roads including the new Kallady Bridge, development of water supply systems and rectification of flood damaged roads and irrigation infrastructure through official development assistance loans, and reconstruction of five bridges on A5 and A15 through grant assistance. The Manampitiya Bridge across Mahaweli River and the Mannar Bridge connecting the mainland to Mannar Island were also JICA grant projects.
Deputy Highways Minister Nirmala Kotelawala, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) chief representative Harumi Ao and dignitaries from the Eastern Province including the Chief Minister will also participate.