After 15 years of plans and just idle talk from authorities, the Marine Drive in Colombo that currently runs parallel to the Galle Road is now being extended to Dehiwela. The first stage of the new Dehiwela Marine drive road seems to be the construction of a bridge over the old Dutch canal that separates Wellawatte from Dehiwala. Upon hearing about this bridge’s construction a few days back from a three-wheel driver, I thought lot of people who suffer the traffic blocks in Dehiwela Galle Road will like to see it. So, I went to see it today morning and managed to take the photos you see below of this new Wellawatte Dehiwala Marine drive bridge for Sri Lanka News Online.
As you can see in this photos the marine drive bridge connecting Wellawatte and Dehiwala is almost complete. What remains is the laying of long concrete slabs over this bridge’s steel under carriage.
In the below picture you can see the concrete slabs that are to be placed on top of the steel structure of the bridge. A guy I spoke to who works in a business near this bridge told me the State Engineering Corporation of Sri Lanka carried out the initial piling and concrete base construction work of this steel bridge. Bringing the pre-manufactured steel parts of the bridge and assembling it over that base using the crane you see here is being carried out by a foreign arm.
Like in Wellawatte to Kollupitya the Dehiwala Marine drive section is also going to run a few meters inland and parallel to the Colombo South coastal railway tracks. I was fortunate to snap a train pass by when I was there on the railway bridge next to the Dehiwala-Wellawatte new Marine drive bridge.
But if you have dreams of driving in the Dehiwala Marine drive in very soon, well… there is a lot more work to be done than making a bridge. As you can see in the next two photo as of today reclaiming land for the road and clearing it has not even started. The houses and buildings to the land side of the railway track in the below pictures need to be reclaimed and demolished before the construction of the Dehiwala Marine drive extension begins.
(At the far end of the railway tracks in the above photo can you dimly make out a train stopped at the Dehiwela railway station? And also the tall building next to it is the 20 story Marine City Apartment complex.)
The final photos here depicts the railway bridge and the new marine drive bridge as seen from the estuary of the old Wellawatte Dutch Canal.
Now the question lies how long it will take to see the contruction begin on the real road? And above all, if and when Dehiwala marine drive is constructed will it be enough to ease the peak-hour traffic congestion on the Dehiwala stretch of the Galle Road and pure chaos found at the bottle-neck Dehiwala junction flyover inter-section?