COLOMBO, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's cabinet of ministers has granted approval to commence work on a Light Rail Transit (LRT) project here and its surrounding areas in order to ease the traffic congestion in the populated Colombo district, local madia reported Friday.
Following a proposal by Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera, the cabinet granted approval to enter discussions with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in order to obtain a loan of 1.8 billion U.S. dollars to begin construction of the project.
The construction of the project is expected to start this year and covers a distance of 17 kilometers. Sixteen LRT stations will be constructed along the route which covers Borella, Rajagiriya, Battaramulla and Thalahena areas in the Western Province.
Dimantha De Silva, senior lecturer at the University of Moratuwa and a Megapolis transport planner, recently said that by 2035, Sri Lanka's forecast was 30,000 passengers per hour per direction in some transport corridors in the Colombo Metropolitan Region (CMR).
Planners have forecast that by 2035, the number of passengers in the main transport corridors with the CMR would rise from 1.9 million to 4.5 million.