Sri Lanka: Gates to be installed at “main” level crossings

1 Jul

Sri Lankan passive level crossing. Source: Railroad crossings of the world (Flickr)

Sri Lankan passive level crossing. Source: Railroad crossings of the world (Flickr)

The Sri Lankan Transport Ministry has said that gates will be installed at the busiest passive level crossings island-wide in order to minimise the rising number of railway accidents. This announcement has been made by B P D Ariyaratna, General Manager of Railways in the aftermath of six people being killed on a passive level crossing in Hikkaduwa last week.

In the interim, the Transport Minister, K Welgama, has told the railway it must install speed bumps on the approach to 50 level crossings to counter the practice of speeding across level crossings without thought to the possible presence of a train. The railway is also to step-up education campaigns targeting motorists who use, in particular, passive level crossings around which there is the greatest concern that road user behaviours have to be changed.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Railways has launched a two-year project to install gates at presently unprotected level crossing with a budget of LKR620 million in place. Accidents at Sri Lankan level crossings have increased from 66 in 2009 to 75 in 2010 and 82 in 2011.

There are 1,083 level crossings in Sri Lanka including 457 which are already protected and a further 149 where there are bamboo-pole barriers which are regarded as unprotected. The new programme will upgrade 371 levels crossings to protected status.

Already 45 are being upgraded to an active status with lights, audible warnings and barriers, with 25 expected to be completed within weeks. Contracts for a further 30 upgrades are to be let to indigenous contractors and subject, to government approval, contracts for a further 200 will be tendered on a broader basis. Components for 50 level crossings are to be imported and a further 48 are expected to be financed through a foreign loan. Overall, it is expected that the programme will be complete by the end of 2015.

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