Dehiwela People Loose Bus Halts, Road Crossings Due To Dehiwela Flyover Bridge

Here you see some photos of the Dehiwela Flyover bridge over the Colombo Galle Road at the Dehiwela Junction. At a glance anyone who looks at this flyover bridge which was built at record breaking speed of just three months in 2009 will see it as a sign of big development in Sri Lanka. However as you will learn from the things I will tell you in this article the reality is far from development or progress for the country.

dehiwela galle road bridgeThis Dehiwela Flyover Bridge is living proof of another ill-conceived Government project which swallowed hundreds of millions of public funds but overall failed to benefit the country or its people in the short term or long term.

The Sri Lanka Government spent a huge amount of money and built this flyover bridge saying it is development and will reduce the nightmarish slow moving traffic jams you see during office and school hours in Galle road near Dehiwela Junction. However 2 years after the flyover was built, today the traffic jams in Dehiwela near this flyover is worse than it ever was.

If the authorities really wanted to reduce traffic in Dehiwela Galle road they should have either widened the Galle road from 4 lanes to 6 lanes or built the planned Dehiwela Marine Drive which will run parallel to the Galle road and offer a alternative to motor traffic. Instead they not only built this vain flyover bridge but also removed road crossings, several bus halts and blocked turning points to off roads from Galle Road by erecting an island and fence in the middle of the Dehiwela Galle Road.

dehiwela flyover bridge

As a resident who lives near the flyover and sees and uses it, I can attest that the Dehiwela Flyover has now become a curse to Dehiwela people. For instance instance a few days back I met an elderly lady, (who said she was a 70+ great-grandmother) standing near the Dehiwela Municipal Council. She told me she is a social worker and JP and she had collected 25 signatures from her neighbors and had come to meet the  Dehiwela & Mount Lavinia Mayer to complain about the removal of road crossings and bus halts within the last year or two in  the Dehiwela Galle Road. Removal of these has caused her and her neighbors who live in Campbell Place off Dehiwela Galle Road to walk several hundred meters before they can get into a bus or cross the Galle road to shop at the Food City supermarket at the other side of the road.

The Authorities have removed several bus haults and crossings like this near the flyover saying they were causing more accidents. The bus halts that were known as Ebert Silva bus halt, Arpico bus halt, Cambell place halt are some of those removed. So to board a bus Dehiwela people and visitors have to sometimes walk nearly a kilometer to the next nearest bus halt. However the increase in accidents is not because of the halts or crossings. As you can see in the above photos the flyover was built at the Dehiwela junction without widening the road. So many motorist who drive over the flyover in which traffic moves faster find it hard to control the speed when they join the slow moving traffic at the other end of the flyover. This is the primary reason for accidents not bus halts.

Vehicle owners in Dehiwela also face hardships after the flyover was built. Before the flyover was built their were gaps in the island at the middle of the road and there was no fence in the middle of the Galle Road at Dehiwela. So vehicles who wanted to turn to off roads were able to turn where they wanted from the Galle Road. The below photo shows how the Galle road was there when building the Dehiwela Junction Flyover. The photo after that was taken today and shows the dividing fence at the middle of the road.

colombo galle road

dehiwela galle road

But now because the road is divided at the center with a island and fence motorist who want to turn to off road are forced to drive right up to the Dehiwela Junction and come back in the other side of the road before turning to the off road they want to go. This  means Dehiwela people are often forced to drive pass their by-roads and back for more than 1km but also adds to increased traffic at the Dehiwela Junction and loss more fuel and time for Dehiwela people. For others who use taxi cabs and three wheelers this has resulted in having to pay extra taxi fees for the additional distance traveled.

So after more  than 2 years of the flyovers existence it has not only failed in easing the traffic jams in Dehiwela but also caused additional hardships to people who live and visit the Dehiwela town.

6 comments to Dehiwela People Loose Bus Halts, Road Crossings Due To Dehiwela Flyover Bridge

  • Most of the issues you have brought up are purely pedestrian ones, and whilst pedestrian concerns shouldn’t be ignored, nor can pedestrians expect to have crossings and bus stops every few yards or right in front of their homes for convenience. Without doubt, the flyover needs to be widened to four lanes with a divider in the middle; but having said that, it has certainly improved the traffic situation, though perhaps not as much as was hoped for. I used to live close to the junction for many years and the traffic situation is much better now.

    Bus halts adjacent to the feeder lanes are definitely a problem and do cause accidents because multiple buses use the same halts and simply barge their way into the flyover lanes instead of waiting their turn to pull away as they should. They also use the flyover at night which is illegal. I almost had a head-on collision with a bus earlier this year because the driver was trying to overtake a trishaw uphill, and was in the oncoming lane. The problem isn’t the flyover system but indisciplined bus drivers. Halts should be at lest a hundred metres away from the junction. Bus passengers have to get used to walking a bit further. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    There are pedestrian crossings across all four sides of the junction, synchronized with the traffic lights. To have another set of crossings close to the flyover ramp is just absurd because it requires traffic on the flyover to stop for pedestrians which blocks up everything and is just plain dangerous. To have a crossing every hundred metres is ridiculous on a main road. Pedestrians must walk the extra distance and cross with the lights as in any big city in the world.

    The same goes for the dividers on the approaches to the flyover. Drivers can’t expect to turn off wherever they wish and do U-turns as and when they please. That’s how it is in Colombo city, so I see no reason why suburban drivers feel they should have some special waiver. SL drivers are utterly indisciplined, and it gets worse as one moves out into the suburbs. Driving in Nugegoda and Maharagama is a nightmare, with cars, vans, and trishaws behaving like buffaloes crossing a paddy field. Turning onto and off the road wherever an individual pleases blocks the flow of traffic, which is why there are designated turnoffs which everyone must use. It means driving a bit further, but get used to it; it’s for the greater good.

    It’s about time SL road users joined the 21st century, so instead of complaining that the flyover doesn’t allow us to use the Galle Road like our back garden, we should realize that we need to behave like civilized road users.

    • David agree with you only to a certain extent. Like you say we have much to improve in how we use roads. However putting all the blame on people alone is not correct. The Government, The RDA or Road Development Authority of Sri Lanka, the MC’s & UC’s (in this case Dehiwela, Mount Lavinia MC) are also responsible for this mess we find in places like Galle Road. Dehiwela Galle road is not a superhighway like the southern E1 highway. It is a local road as well as a national road.

      You don’t just make a flyover in a busy narrow multi purpose road like this without expanding the road or making some more adjustments around it like underground pedestrian crossings, proper bus halts etc.

      all I got to say is here they just spend billions of rupees on this colossus projects without proper planning. Any observant person in Dehiwela would have been able to predict the outcome we will get from this flyover today before it was built. But makes me very angry is wasn’t the relevant authorities and engineers let alone politicians see what a waste this project was? For the money they spent it’s only reasonable for Dehiwela public to expect lesser traffic and

  • Yeah, Dehiwela traffic is terrible. From the Galle Road you often can’t turn into your own straight, especially in the mornings the thing is a highway, so you either have to plan early and take an exit, or drive further and find one.

    The whole thing is designed for people passing through Dehiwela, not people living there.

  • Well, if they had widened the Galle Road, I don’t think a flyover would have been necessary at all, but it would have meant the loss of valuable real estate. The flyover may not be perfect but it HAS improved traffic over what it was. It’s an improvement; not magic. I can at least contemplate heading to Mt Lavinia for a weekday meeting now, which I never would have before.

    Agreed, the benefit is mostly for those passing through and not the residents, but Colombo residents are similarly inconvenienced by one way systems so that those from the suburbs can get into Colombo more easily. That’s the way it goes. Dehiwela isn’t a town or city of its own. Nothing wrong with planning your journey and taking the proper exits early; it’s part of road discipline. You have to do it now in Colombo if you want to travel from say Narahenpita to Colpetty, or back the other way. So why can’t people in Dehiwela do that too?

    In addition, Marine Drive IS being extended to Dehiwela; but it’ll take time. Criticizing is OK, but one needs to be realistic.

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