The first phase of building 210 bridges under a programme to construct 1210 rural bridges island-wide is now almost nearing the target. Already work on 100 of these has been fully completed under Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s direction.
These bridges will reduce the gap between towns and villages thus opening the doors for rapid rural development in accordance with the Mahinda Chintana Vision. The bridges will benefit over six million people in 15,000 villages of 100 Secretarial Divisions.
Seventy-five percent of Sri Lanka’s population lives villages where these bridges will help to greatly improve the rural economy and the quality of life of the rural folk, according to Minister Rajapaksa. He further says that road development under the Maga Neguma programme has contributed to raising villagers' income levels while the new bridges would boost the plantation and agricultural economies.
Under the first phase 210 rural bridges out of 1210 will be fully completed within this year. A 100 of them have already been constructed. Under the second phase a 1,000 more bridges are expected to be built and opened for public use by the middle of next year. All these steel bridges have been constructed without arches to withstand vagaries of the weather.
The Minister Points out that people’s participation in the development process will help to build solid infrastructure facilities which would last for generations.