Proposed Suduhumpola -Tennekumbura Tunnel(Kandy).  Is it going to be another disaster and a white elephant?
Posted on August 21st, 2017

Sudath Gunasekara21.8.2017.

Plans are said to be underway to construct a 5.5 long tunnel from Suduhumpola to Tennekumbura on the left bank of the Kandy Lake as an  utopian solution to Kandy traffic congestion. The proposed tunnel starts at Suduhumpola and comprises 4 tunnels on plan. Tunnel one is 900 m; Tunnel 2 is  660 m; Tunnel 3 is 1120 and Tunnel 4 is 1680 m with  2 openings in between; the first at the upper end of Bogambara grounds and the second at the upper end of Kandy Lake, facilitating connections to the existing city road network.

Kandy

Tunnel 1 runs through a relatively less developed area with a big slope. Tunnel 2 runs above the General Hospital below the IFS up to the upper end of Bogambara grounds. Both tunnels 1 and 2 traverse through highly earth slip prone and heavily settled zones. Tunnel 3 I think is the most critical zone as it runs through a highly developed area sloping towards and overlooking the historic Kandy Lake and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. Among other important institutions is the historic Malwatta temple, the Head Quarters of Theravada Buddhism not only of in Sri Lanka but the Whole world. This area is the most heavily built up luxury residential are with tourist guest houses with high rising storied buildings on extremely sloping and earth slip prone land. All these three tunnel cut across the foot hills of Hanthana range. The last and the 4th tunnel (1680 m) runs under the Dharmaraja hill and it appears to run along the trend of the land. Comparatively it is the least settled and least developed area. As such while earth slips and environmental problems in this part should be hopefully minimal. Even compensation for buildings could be much less in this part as the entire extent is running deep under the ridge up to Tenne kumbura bridge outlet and even the number of buildings here are comparatively less and not palatial either.

Considering the physical terrain and the geological structure of the major part of the tunnel trace, as a lay citizen I visualize serious problems to crop up. This is specially so when one think of the lessons learned from the Uma Oya Project. The physical instability of the area might give way and as a result if the whole or part of the area in tunnel 3 area together with some of the buildings, collapse, the possibility of the Kandy lake getting wiped out along with the Malwatta temple cannot be ruled out as mere guess work.

Bedside such catastrophes one wonders whether the enormous cost that is going to be incurred for feasibility studies, construction and maintenance and compensation for buildings and other damages over time probably exceeding US$ 500 m also has to be seriously considered compared with the benefit expected. I read in papers that already South Korea has agreed to provide a loan of US 200 m for this work. Mind you this has to be paid back in hard currency. At a time when the country is said to be overburdened with paying billions and trillions of loans  is it advisable to take further loans for this kind of luxuries has to be questioned. At a time we are talking about preserving the heritage of the Kandy city isn’t it advisable that we go for less expensive and environmentally and physically less harmful projects to solve the Kandy problem. In any case a 5.5 km long tunnel of that magnitude in my opinion is a luxury for a country like ours. Therefore I would advise for an alternative solution

I would like to repeat the following proposal by me that appeared in Lankaweb on September 15th, 2010 for the serious consideration of authorities

Beside the minor improvements in traffic management required both in infrastructure and management within the city, I make the following major suggestions.

1 Open up four bus terminuses on the outskirts of the city at Peradeniya, Katugastota, Tennekumbura and Ampitiya for all the incoming busses from the hinterland.

2 Start a town bus service by the KMC from there for passengers to attend to their business in the town.

3 Have a separate school bus service run by the KMC that will pick up all school children from present school vans and busses at the bus terminuses that will have parking facilities for school vans as well

4 Shift all whole sale activities to Katugastota and Pallekele so that congestion in the town could be minimized

(These few steps alone will reduce the traffic jam in the city and near the schools at least by 75 %)

5 Have a master circular Kandy city road connecting Peradeniya, Katugastota, Tennekumbura and Ampitiya. This could be done by improving the existing Peradeniya-Katugastota- Tennekumbura (either via Polgolla or via Polgolla bridge Aruppola connecting Lewella with Tennekumbura by anew road along the RB of Mahaweli). To link Peradeniya with Tennekumbura  you can improve the Rajapihilla mawatha on the upper side of the Kandy lake firstly by linking it up by a road connecting Sudahumpola with Reservoir road by a new link road constructed through lower Hanthana above the Kandy Hospital with a bridge over the Dunumandalawa Reservoir dam. This also could be made use of to redo the Dunumandalawa Reservoir dam presently in a bad condition. Ampitiya end could be linked with Tennekumbura with a suitable point on the Kandy Talatuoya road using a shorter tunnel. The section of the tunnel proposed under the Suduhumpola –Tennekumbura Project is 5544 feet,that is 264 ft longer than a mile.

6 Widen the Queens Hotel Junction-Wase Park- Ampitiya junction and link up this road with the Anagarika Dharmapala Mavatha with an overhead bridge (Four lane) opposite the Mahanayaka Nila Nivasa, being the narrowest point in the Weva, to overcome the problem caused by the closure of the Maligava road.

7 Join the Tricommallee Street with the Dharmasoka Mawatha on the other side of the Udawattakele with a tunnel (2 lane) starting near the Kandy Town Hall

8 Improve the Kandy railway service with 2 track lines between Gampola, Kaduganawa and Wttegama and with a new line linking Mawilmanda with Pallekele via Tennekumbura  on the Mahaweli RB.

These proposals will need much less money and will definitely minimize environmental, physical and social disasters an d will also speed up the work

For these reasons I am of the opinion that we must go for a less expensive, less dangerous but cost benefit wise more profitable solution to solve the traffic congestion in this city, Care should be taken to avoid more bungling as we have already made enough

Finally I would request the Government to first discuss this proposal in detail with Mahasanga of Asgiriya and Malwatta Chapters and other responsible citizens in the area before giving OK to this gray Project.

3 Responses to “Proposed Suduhumpola -Tennekumbura Tunnel(Kandy).  Is it going to be another disaster and a white elephant?”

  1. Nimal Says:

    By t5he third day in Kandy we are having breathing difficulties with the heavily polluted air.I would suggest that we must open the road by the Maligawa and reduce t6he reasons for heavy traffic to centre of Kandy and find a way to find out the reasons vehicles to travel through Kandy and move those reasons to suburbs of Kandy,like spreading the departments of the governments and even hospitals to the suburbs.
    Wasting money on a tunnel is pointless and will be prone to severe flooding.Find out how London have reduced or maintained traffic to a manageable level and that should be applied to major cities and towns.

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    ALL THESE BLOODY POLITICIANS WANT TO START A PROJECT OF THEIR OWN. YOU KNOW WHY NO ? ALL WHO`NO, WANT TO BECOME THALA`GOYAS, AND THEN GRADUATE TO BECOME KABARA`GOYAS. BLOODY ROGUES. HORA YAKKU. THEY WANT TO TUNNEL FOR MONEY INTO THEIR POCKETS. WHEN ONE BUGGER STARTS A PROJECT, THE OTHER ARZ OLES ARE MAD BECAUSE THEY CANT GET A *CUT* , SO EACH BUGGER COMES OUT WITH A STORY, HOW TO DEVELOP SRI LANKA, AND WITH WHOSE MONEY ? MY FOOT.

  3. Nimal Says:

    Yesterday the 26th of August the police played merry hell in Kandy town by blocking pavements with chairs,thus stopping the days business life that caused heavy traffic congestion. They were playing very loud music till 9.30PM that polluted the entire town.They should have had some regards to the people who live and work there.They could have had this event away from the main streets.

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