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Formula One Track To Be Built On Planned ‘New Port City’ Colombo


A Formula One track is planned for the New Port City to be constructed in the vicinity of the Colombo Port. According to the Chairman, Ports Authority, Dr. Priyath Wickrama an eight lane F1 track will “definitely” be a part of the New Port City, he said.
Formula One has strict requirements for its tracks and the Sri Lankan track, if it is to be a reality, must be carefully planned if it is to be implemented in the New Port City. Currently planners are formulating ways of fitting the track in the premises of the city whilst also allowing for maximum leeway for commercial activities. Space is also a problem so a synergistic approach with commercial roads must also be adopted. F1 tracks around the globe often use sections of public roads for racing.
The New Port City will set Sri Lanka up for its own city-on-the-sea akin to Palm Island and The World, Dubai. The city is to be constructed on filled land taking up the area between the Southern edge of the new Colombo South Port and the Fort Lighthouse. The total area of sea reclaimed is set to be 450 acres.
‘The New Port City Development Project will be implemented in March 2011’ said Chairman, Ports Authority, Dr. Priyath Wickrama in an exclusive interview with The Sunday Leader. The New Port City is a concept of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was apparently inspired while out on a visit to inspect the landfill being constructed for the Colombo South port.
‘The new city is going to be well planned. Colombo unfortunately is not very well planned anymore. It was a quite well planned city during colonial times but has since become haphazard,’ said Wickrama.
The initiatives for the city involves shopping complexes, hotels, office complexes, etc. There is also a marina planned for boats and other water based activities.
The construction is set to begin in March 2011 with an initial budget of $450 million. The filling of the land is projected to take two years while subsequent infrastructure construction is projected to take another one and a half years.
‘The Ports Authority will call for investors to buy land for use and construction as the project gets underway’ said Wickrama adding that private sector funds will be key in ensuring that the project is completed in time. He also said that many investors both local and foreign have shown ‘a lot of interest’ in investing already.
‘The models have been constructed and feasibility studies have been done. All the expertise has been provided by us and no foreign consultants have been approached so far. The technology and knowledge needed for filling the land is sophisticated. A monorail is planned to reduce congestion in the city. Entrants will be encouraged to park their cars at the entrance and use the monorail to navigate the city,’ he said. According to Wickrama the funding will likely come from a Chinese source as some interest has already been conveyed from there. Wickrama also mentioned that bonds will be issued to raise funds in addition to private investments.
‘The Ports Authority has been financially stable but could perform much better,’ said General Manager Capt. Nihal Keppetipola, adding that a key reason for this is the foreign exchange loss suffered in the repayment of a yen loan taken for super infrastructure developments a decade ago. ‘The New Port City project more than anything else will be a massive revenue earner for the Ports

Posted on Monday, January 10, 2011 @ 10:55:17 LKT

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