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Central Expressway: a Collective Effort by Local Construction Companies

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The Central Expressway is Sri Lanka’s fourth expressway that will eventually link major cities of Dambulla and Kandy to the country’s growing expressway network. Section II of the Central Expressway was ceremoniously opened to the public by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on 15 January 2022. Commencing at Mirigama and proceeding almost 40km to Kurunegala, the expressway is a feat of modern engineering and construction achieved by a consortium of experienced local construction companies. The newly opened section constitutes 4-lanes, and is designed to accommodate speeds of 100km/hr.

This project was envisioned by the Government of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Highways, based on the National Master Plan for development of land-based transport. In line with the government’s long-term strategy for development, the Central Expressway is a key component in providing efficient transport infrastructure that is essential for the country’s growth trajectory. Implemented by the Road Development Authority (RDA) under the guidance of the Ministry of Highways, the Central Expressway was fully funded as a national investment through Sri Lankan banks.

MAGA worked in partnership with several major construction contractors, undertaking the role of consortium leader of Package-D comprising VVK, Hovael and CML-MTD. A key section of the Expressway from Maditiyawala to Kurunegala, Package-D involved design and construction the expressway nearing the Kurunegala Town and linking the expressway with the A6 road. This expressway section also runs along a floodplain adjacent to the Wendaru Wewa, an ancient tank that provides water supply for Kurunegala Town, supports irrigation in the area, and hosts a number of wetland bird species. MAGA’s in-house design engineers carried out all structural and hydrology designs of Package-D, under the expert guidance of the RDA and the SLLDC. Features of the section included 4 interchanges, 6 viaducts (almost 3km), 02 main bridges and 03 ramp bridges, 01 overpass, 15 underpasses, 145 culverts, and additional access and link roads.

The project team supervised and carried out challenging feats of engineering including rock-slope protection via soil-nailing and rock-nets, and circumvention of multiple rail crossings, floodplains, spill areas, and irrigation canals through the construction of viaducts. The project team also erected noise-barriers to mitigate potential sound pollution; installed bird-fencing to reduce the impact on wetland bird populations; and worked closely with communities to support local government authorities, schools, community organisations, and cultural and religious institutions.

To execute a project of this magnitude, MAGA deployed multiple specialist project managers and a team of more than 2000 construction engineers, design engineers, technical specialists, administrative staff and construction workers. The Package-D consortium was led by Mr Piyadasa Madarasinghe, Chief Executive Director of Maga Engineering as the Consortium Team Leader/Contractor's Representative.

Completion of the project according to schedule showcased the company’s experience, capacity and financial strength to deliver large-scale infrastructure to international standards. Inspired and methodical project management played a key role in the project, and allowed the project team to adapt to challenges and deliver outstanding quality of construction. Commenting on completion of the project, Mr Piyadasa Madarasinghe noted “This is a proud moment for Sri Lanka’s construction industry, as a number of local construction contractors have come together to deliver a megaproject of national importance, meeting international standards, with funding from local banks.” “MAGA is proud to be a lead partner in one of the consortiums that brought to life this key section of the Central Expressway, and we trust that all contractors will derive important lessons learned from the project, as they move forward to implement more projects of such giant scale and national importance in the future.”

Chairman & Managing Director of Maga Engineering Mr M G Kularatne acknowledged the trust extended to local contractors by the government of Sri Lanka: “We congratulate the visionary leadership of the Government of Sri Lanka, whilst appreciating the guidance given by the Ministry of Highways and the expertise displayed by the Road Development Authority in bringing to life Section 2 of the Central Expressway against all odds, thus creating a catalyst for the future growth of Sri Lanka’s economy.” “The success of the project was also made possible by the strength of Sri Lankan banks, their trust placed in a consortium of expert local contractors, and their commitment to Sri Lanka’s continued development.”

The full length of the Central Expressway, once completed, will connect the country’s three main economic corridors, whilst linking Sri Lanka’s hill capital Kandy and agricultural hub Dambulla with Colombo and the rest of the expressway network. The Expressway will also stretch across a number of rapidly urbanising towns – Gampaha, Veyangoda, Mirigama, Pothuhera, Kurunegala, Rideegama, Melsiripura, Galewela, Rambukkana, and Galagedara. A critical component in a future-ready road network that will benefit all Sri Lankans, the new expressway will improve mobility, reduce burden on existing transport systems, improve efficiency and quality of road infrastructure, and contribute to the long-term development of industries, services, and communities across multiple provinces.

MAGA Engineering and YouLead extend partnership to support youth development

  • PR-MAGA and YouLead extend partnership to support youth development

[Pictured at the commencement of the MAGA – YouLead partnership in 2019, standing L-to-R: YouLead Partnerships Manager, Mr Sharada Weerwardana; YouLead Partnerships Director, Ms Vindya Silva; YouLead Project Director, Mr Charles Conconi; MAGA Chairman and Managing Director, Mr M G Kularatne; MAGA Director of Finance and Planning, Mr Mega Kularatne]

MAGA Engineering and the U. S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) youth employment and business startup project – YouLead, have cemented their partnership under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work towards better outcomes and opportunities for Sri Lankan youth. MAGA and YouLead have worked together since September 2019, with a focus on skills development and creation of better employment opportunities for young people in the construction industry. Active through May 2024, the MoU was signed by MAGA Chairman and Managing Director Mr. M G Kularatne, and YouLead Project Director Mr. Charles Conconi.

Through a comprehensive Training of Trainers (ToT) programme organised by YouLead, over 60 specialised trainers of MAGA were empowered and upskilled to better train youth in the construction and engineering sector. Through continuous training and skills-building carried out at project sites across the island, these experienced training staff of MAGA have assisted more than 1,500 youth entering the construction industry to gain technical expertise and invaluable on-the-job experience. The two organisations will continue to collaborate in the design, development, and effective implementation of training programmes focused on the construction sector including technical training, project management skill-building, and supervisory skills development to support upskilling of youth across Sri Lanka.

Commenting on the signing of the MoU, Chairman and Managing Director of MAGA Mr. M G Kularatne stated “From inception, MAGA has believed in empowering and supporting Sri Lankan youth to gain employable skills that are essential to unlocking opportunities and building a better future for all. Therefore, we are proud to continue our partnership with USAID’s YouLead project in whom we have found a like-minded partner to support, train, and create opportunities for young people. On behalf of the construction industry, we wish to thank the YouLead team for their initiative and contribution in this space”.

Speaking on YouLead’s focus of improving the vocational skills and employability of Sri Lankan youth, YouLead Project Director, Charles Conconi said “Through USAID, we are happy to have the opportunity to help MAGA build a larger Sri Lankan workforce that is skilled in the latest construction practices and technologies. Partnering with industry leaders such as MAGA to train their own trainers allows us to help structure a training experience that is closely aligned with the needs of this fast-growing sector. It also ensures that the added talent and capacity remains in Sri Lanka to build youth skills and good jobs long into the future.”

YouLead is a USD 18 million program supported by USAID, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the European Union and implemented by International Executive Service Corps (IESC). It works to improve technical and vocational education and training, create a more skilled workforce, and link youth to more productive careers by undertaking activities to support and strengthen students, teachers, institutions, and entrepreneurs.

Sri Lanka’s leading construction company, MAGA Engineering, is the largest employer in the country’s construction sector. As a registered Training Institute with the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC), MAGA continues to work with the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training and other public and private partners to contribute to youth development in Sri Lanka. MAGA’s contribution to work-based vocational training has been recognised with multiple National Vocational Training Excellence awards.

MAGA begins construction of new housing complex at Malapalla

  • PR – MAGA begins construction of new housing complex at Malapalla

Maga Engineering has begun construction of a new 10-storey medium-rise housing complex as part of the Government’s Railway Efficiency Improvement Project (REIP) and Colombo Suburban Railway Project (CSRP). The project, valued at LKR 1.3 Billion, is implemented by the Ministry of Transport and funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and is expected to be completed by late 2024.

Implementation of the project is in line with expansions and improvements to Colombo’s suburban railway network, with the new housing complex expected to accommodate families living in informal settlements along the railway corridor who will need to relocate in order to complete developments to the Kelani Valley Railway Line, which passes through the Maharagama and Homagama DS Divisions. Ministry of Transport and Urban Development Authority (UDA) teams were involved in preliminary field studies and site investigations to study the impact of resettlement, and prepared all plans in close collaboration with local communities after extensive community consultations. All technical designs and provisions are also in accordance with international standards and carried out in close coordination with the social safeguard team of the Project Management Unit (PMU) and design and supervision consultants.

The new housing complex is located on a land owned by Sri Lanka Railways near the old railway station situated in Malapalla West. MAGA’s role as main contractor involves design and construction of the new housing complex, which covers a total floor area of around 125,000 square feet and comprises 120 apartments with necessary amenities. Designed in partnership with OENS Design Studio, the housing complex focuses on livability and community aspects and features substantial common space and community areas, children’s play areas, and recreational areas. The premises will also include a Grama Niladhari (GN) office, police post, daycare centre, multi-purpose hall, and a post office, together with provisions for adequate parking.

Once completed, the new Malapalla housing complex will provide hundreds of families with access to formal land tenure, a decent home, and essential infrastructure and amenities such as safe public spaces, clean water, electricity, and sanitation.

Maga Engineering is a long-standing partner of the Government’s regeneration efforts that improve the lives of low-income communities living in urban areas. Since 2018, MAGA has been involved in constructing several large-scale developmental housing projects that provide safe and spacious housing to over 1750 families.

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