Sri Lanka and Japan sign agreement for light rail project

A concessionary loan agreement of JPY 30 billion was signed between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for engineering services and construction of a light rail transit (LRT) line between Malabe and Colombo Fort.

Covering a distance of approximately 16 kilometres with 16 stations, the rail-based and electrified transit line is set to be the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, not only facilitating connectivity but also reducing travel time.

The Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development is tasked with executing the project.

It has been proposed that the entire rail track be constructed on elevated viaducts with superior quality Japanese technology expected to be used for the same.

The project has been approved by the Central Environmental Authority upon conducting the environmental impact assessment.

Chief Representative of JICA Sri Lanka Fusato Tanaka stated: “JICA is proud to be the partner of the GoSL in establishing the very first urban LRT line in Sri Lanka. It will fundamentally change the face of public transport in this country, ease traffic congestion and improve the environment of Colombo city. We hope [that] the GoSL will take sustainable measures to ensure proper operation and maintenance so that the benefits of Japanese technology and concessionary funding could be enjoyed by the public of Sri Lanka.”

JICA is one of the largest contributors to Sri Lanka’s transport sector; apart from financing the Southern Expressway, JICA is currently financing a new bridge across the Kelani River that is estimated to be completed in 2020.