The Manmunai Bridge opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday (April 19), connected lands on the east and west in Batticaloa, fulfilling a long felt need of the people in the area.
The bridge which is the first east-west land connection across the Batticaloa lagoon has been constructed through a 1,206 million Japanese Yen (approximately Rs. 2 billion) grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The 210m long bridge enables land access to markets and services on the east side of the lagoon where the Batticaloa township is located, especially for the farmer community on the west side.
The new bridge also connects the improved provincial road network on either side of the lagoon, opening an alternative road link to and from Batticaloa town to other areas of the country.
In recent years, the Government constructed many bridges in line with the Mahinda Chintana policy to develop roads and bridges, island wide. Under this, special attention has been paid to construct new bridges and renovate old bridges in the North and the East to facilitate people who suffered from terrorism for thirty years.
Accordingly, the President declared open the Arugam Bay Bridge, connecting Pottuvil, Arugam Bay and Panama in the Eastern Province on 1st of July, 2008. It was constructed at a cost of US $ 10 million, replacing the old bridge over Arugam Bay which was severely damaged in the tsunami.
Sri Lanka’s longest bridge, the Kinniya Bridge and the Irakkandi Bridge, constructed at a cost of Rs.790 million and Rs.713 million, respectively, were commissioned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on October 20, 2009.
The Kinniya Bridge linked Trincomalee with Kinniya, enabling civilians to cross the Kinniya lagoon to reach Kinniya and Muttur areas. The 396 metre long and 10 metre wide bridge was constructed on the A-15 highway. It provides 7.4 metres width for vehicles and 1.5 metres for pedestrians.
The Irakkandi Bridge linking Trincomalee with Pulmodai, replaced the old bridge destroyed by the tsunami. It is 300 metres in length and seven metres wide with two lanes of 1.5 metres for pedestrians.
The President also opened the Panichchankerni Bridge in Wakarai on September 2, 2013, which was reconstructed at a cost of 1.06 billion rupees with a grant from the Japanese Government. The bridge was blown up by the retreating Tamil Tiger terrorists in 2006.
The President pays a great deal of attention to construct bridges with his concept of ‘Maga Neguma’ to develop transport infrastructure facilities in Sri Lanka. Bridges at Kelaniya, Nugegoda, Bentota, Lathpandura, and Katugastota also have been opened under the Maga Neguma programme.