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Sri Lanka Road Network

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Overview

Sri Lanka has a road network of approximately 100,000 kilometers sufficient for meeting 90 percent is a developing country yet it is known for a developed, well distributed road network. It is sufficient enough to meet 90% of the demand for transportation in the country. Out Majority of the total length of roads, maintenance and development of A and B class national roads and 4,480 bridges are vested with the Road Development Authority (RDA). Approximately another 15,000 kilometers of C and D class roads are under the purview of provincial councils. The balance is maintained and developed by the local governments and other government and private institutions. The recent war has caused many restrictions to the road network in the North of the country.

Distance and Time Travel Matrix

Distance between towns in Km & HoursKm.Time in hours (4x4)Time in hours (Trucks)
Colombo - Galle1163,54,5
Colombo - Ampara35079
Colombo - Batticaloa303910,5
Colombo - Trincomalee257810
Colombo - Vavuniya25468
Colombo - Puttalam1422,53,5
Galle - Matara4511
Matara - Hambantota7722
Ampara - Batticaloa7022,5
Ampara - Trincomalee20657
Batticaloa - Trincomalee1383,54,5
Trincomalee - Vavuniya9734,5
Vavuniya - Killinochchi8022,5
Killinochchi - Mullatiwu551,51,5
Killinochchi - Jaffna621,52

Road Class and Surface Conditions

Although the road density and the road coverage is relatively better in Sri Lanka compared roads are the responsibilities of the road development authority but some are under provincial control. After 2009, the development of roads accelerated by which new expressways and few overhead bridges was nationalized. Since the road network is a core function in all the sectors, a thriving road network will help the country flourish. One of the major challenges the country had to face was inability to occupy the whole demand in the roads, thus expansion projects are undergoing. Currently the inner circle of the expressway project is undergoing which is expected to reduce the traffic in the urban areas in western province.

For more information on government contact details, please see the following link: 4.1 Government Contact List.

Distance Matrix

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Travel Times

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Road Security

In Sri Lanka, road safety is ensured by the National Council for Road Safety.

Main objectives of the council are:

  • Prepare the background to create a high-quality driving service through the creation of disciplined and law-abiding drivers.
  • Provision of financial assistance for the families affected by hit and run accidents and the minimization of such accidents.
  • Identification and implementation of measures for the protection of pedestrians including roads, vehicles, and passengers who use it.
  • Collecting data, conducting surveys and researches on road safety, and developing international co-ordination.
  • Implementation of national road safety policies and minimize inconveniences jointly with the public sector, NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) and private sector institutes.
  • Take necessary measures to rehabilitate disabled persons due to road accidents.
  • Provision of financial assistance and advices to follow economic, technological and possible social activities and environment friendly safety measures.
  • Formulation of national transport policy and contribute to its functioning.
  • Provide contribution for activities such as revision of preparation of laws relating to road safety.

Other than that all the drivers should be compliance with a driving license issued by the department of motor traffic. And also a greenhouse emission gas test is a must for the vehicles in road. Roads could be dangerous during the rainy season and could get blocked due to floods. Recently heavy wind has caused trees to fall which blocked the roads. But the trees were removed fast thus allowing vehicles to flow smoothly. Other than that the conditions are good.

(Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, 2019)


Weighbridges and Axle Load Limits


Axle Load Limits

Sri Lanka

Truck with 2 Axles

10,000 kg

Truck with 3 Axles

22,000 kg

Truck with 4 Axles

N/A

Semi-trailer with 3 Axles

N/A

Semi-trailer with 4 Axles

N/A

Semi-trailer with 5 Axles

N/A

Semi-trailer with 6 Axles

N/A

Truck & Drawbar Trailer with 4 Axles

N/A

Truck & Drawbar Trailer with 5 Axles

N/A

Truck & Drawbar Trailer with 6 Axles

N/A

Truck & Drawbar Trailer with 7 Axles

N/A

Road Class and Surface Conditions

Grade

Description

Km

E

High speed

169,845

A

AA

National Highway Network

3,720.310 

AB

466.920

AC

30.190

B

Major provincial roads used as feeder roads to A and E grade roads.

8003.167

C

Local resident roads


Even though the overall road density is high in Sri Lanka relative to other developing countries, the condition of roads, particularly the provincial and local roads, has not kept abreast with the growing demand for transportation, mainly due to resource constraints. The continuation of routine and periodic maintenance programs is essential to avoid further deterioration. Work has commenced on the new southern road, which is being constructed east of the main coast road.
It is evident that most highways in the Colombo metropolitan area are operating at or near capacity, especially during peak periods. Congestion due to narrow roads is a general problem in the country and has serious safety implications. The reduction of congestion, safer roads and environment friendly transport system is a challenge for the future.
The damage to the road network caused by the recent tsunami was concentrated on the east, south and northern coasts. Much of this damage had been repaired around mid-March 2005 to allow traffic to flow again. Many of the repairs are however of a temporary nature and require upgrading on a permanent basis, according to an assessment carried out by UNJLC Road Engineers.
The following represents a short summary of the assessment:
General road conditions in the cleared areas vary from acceptable to reasonable to good. Further defined:

Acceptable being tarred, wide enough (5m) for two vehicles to pass, but with irregularities in the surface, narrow shoulders and many obstacles on the road (i.e. people, bicyclists, mini-taxies, animal pulled carts, etc.). Travel speed on such roads is on average 40 km/hr. Most of Sri Lankan intercity roads are in this category.
Reasonable being tarred, six or more meters in width and/or with a firm and broad shoulder. Trucks and buses can pass from opposite directions without needing to tread on the shoulder. A good section of the road from Trincomalee to Kurunegala (direction Colombo vv) is like this. Travel speeds of up to 60 km/hr can be reached on these sections of the road.
Good roads are few and most found in the inner city of Colombo. Heavy traffic and regulated speed limits restrict travel at higher speeds in Colombo City.
Road conditions in the uncleared areas can generally be considered passable but bad. With this we can define the conditions of the road to be un-maintained. Where the roads were tarred, they are now full of potholes. Un-tarred or gravel roads are pitted and full of indents and during or after heavy rains monsoons, impassable.

 

For information on Sri Lanka Road Network additional information, please see the following document: 

Sri Lanka Road Network Additional Information

 

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C class and B class roads are mostly not in good condition. Those roads are occasionally not wide enough for buses as well. However the A class roads which have been developed few decades back is currently under widening and resurfacing processes, thus the conditions of A class roads are relatively good. The main reason is that the roads reach its maximum capacity during the peak hours causing heavy traffic. When considering the expressways, as they were built very recently condition is good and assure a fast and smooth journey. In order to maintain the surface quality periodic maintenance is expected. Currently few new development projects are under progression in the Paliyagoda area. A new bridge was developed and opened recently in Rajagiriya increasing the capacity of the roads, due to the vehicle flow. Therefore has reduced the traffic relatively and allows smooth flow of vehicles.