Sri Lanka Road Network

Sri Lanka has a road network of approximately 100,000 kilometers sufficient for meeting 90 percent of the demand for transportation. Out 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 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. 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

Note: The information provided in the attached documents, which has been taken from the old DLCA, does not match the structure of the new LCA and is therefore provided separately.