Home » Old Dutch prison building to be demolished making way for Port Access Highway

Old Dutch prison building to be demolished making way for Port Access Highway


By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): The fortified warehouse of the Old Dutch fort referred to as a Dutch prison functions today as the Maritime Museum of Colombo Ports Authority is set be demolished making way for the construction of the Port Access Elevated Highway (PAEH), informed sources divulged. 

This only surviving Dutch period building within the port premises which has been constructed in 1676 will become a victim of Colombo Port City being built by reclaiming sea area of 269 ha (660 acres) adjacent to the Galle Face Green In Colombo.

The project cost was slated to be US$ 15 billion  and it is part of China’s Belt and Road initiative and the reclamation was carried out by China Harbor Engineering Corporation.

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority Maritime Museum was officially established in August 2003. The museum displays various historical items related to the ports of the country, its maritime industry and the ocean around Sri Lanka.

One can also witness various Sculptures of King Vijaya and many other characters. There are other artworks and models on display symbolizing the equipment used in Port operation as well as the timely and orderly development of the Colombo Port.

The Urban Development Authority (UDA) will carry out the demolition of the iconic Dutch era-building, defying impassioned appeals for it to be preserved as a historical monument by All Ceylon General Ports Emplyees Union.

The Archaeology Department has given its consent on August 15 to Urban Development Authority to demolish this over 350 year old building with a length of 217 feet and a width of 93 feeet, the union said.   

This attempt of historical damage has been brought to the notice of Cultural Affairs Minister Vidura Wickremanayake in writing urging immediate action to preserve Dutch era building with immense archaeological value.      

The Minister of Transport, Highways and Mass Media, Bandula Gunawardena, says that the construction of the Port Access Elevated Highway (PAEH) will be completed by September 2024.

Minister further added that an expenditure of US$ 60.2 million will have to be incurred by the government to conclude the entire project.

The Colombo Port Access Elevated Highway Project implemented under the Asian Development Bank assistance constructs a 5.27 kilometer long road connecting the New Kelani Bridge to the Colombo Port. The four-lane highway is 25 meters wide.

PAEH that will connect to the New Kelani Bridge at the Ingurukade intersection and from there onward to the Colombo Port City, will be connected by 22 bridges which will be built entirely on pillars.

The estimated investment for that is 360.2 million US dollars, for which the Asian Development Bank will provide a concessional loan amount of 300 million dollars and the Sri Lankan government will provide the remaining amount of 60.2 million dollars.

Since the New Kelani Bridge will directly connect to the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway on the north side and extend to the Orugodawatta intersection on the south side, connecting it with the PAEH is expected to allow travel to the outskirts of Colombo without much congestion.


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