Western Region Megapolis also called Western Region Megapolis Planning Project(WRMPP) is an urban planning, zoning, and development project aimed at creating a planned Megapolis in Sri Lanka's Western Province by 2030. The master plan was created by Surbana in cooperation with local experts. The plan hopes to create a Megacity that can match other economic hubs such as Dubai, Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo and solve the issues of traffic congestion, garbage, slums, and environmental pollution. The main goals of the project are for economic growth and prosperity, good governance , creation of an efficient and well-planned region ,social equity and harmony as well as environmental sustainability. The project includes Social Infrastructure development such as housing, healthcare, education ,spiritual development, Safety and security, Transportation and traffic Management, Airports and port development, Water and Energy related infrastructure development as well as the development of SMEs, Industries and tourism.
The conceptual plan was initially mooted in 1991 by the then young Sri Lankan Industries, Science and Technology Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, when he made a presentation in the presence of the visiting Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu, with the objective of getting Japanese assistance to implement the Megaproject. However development of the concept came to a halt with the change of the government in 1994. In 2004 Singaporean HDB's design subsidiary CESMA created the Western Region Megapolis plan when Wickremasinghe returned to power and the proposal was submitted to the Board of Investment(BOI) however the fall of the government again stopped the project. His successor Mahinda Rajapaksa abandoned the plan but implemented piecemeal recommendations of the project.
After returning to power in 2015, Wickremasinghe requested Surbana Jurong, the successor of CESMA to revise the plan to suit the newer needs. The Megapolis plan was unveiled in a ceremony with Prime Minister Wickremesighe, President Maithripala Sirisena and Megapolis and Western province development minister Champika Ranawaka. in 2016 Siemens signed an MoU with the Ministry of Megapolis to provide solutions for smart cities.
The megapolis project has several proposals for transport development. Plans include a modernized bus service, an electrified railway system, modern Rapid Transit System (RTS) and an inland water transport system for a new boat/ferry service that uses Colombo’s historic canal network, a new urban expressway system, and improvements to existing roadways.
A new rail-based Rapid Transit System will be introduced in the Greater Colombo area. Bus, taxi and school transport systems in the region will be restructured and modernized. Bus stations and terminals will be upgraded. A transport information and analysis centre is proposed in the project master plan.
The plan further proposes,
The plan proposes to revise the route network to enhance efficiency and convenience, reform and restructure public bus service and institutions, initiate express bus services using intercity expressways, deploy smart bus service with low floor kneeling, air conditioning, and on-board IT and improve facilities at suburban bus terminals and stands.
Upgrading stations, rail tracks and signaling, communication and ticketing systems, introduction of new rolling stock are proposed. Electrification of existing lines and several new lines are also proposed in the project. The main lines to be modernized and electrified are,
- Panadura - Veyangoda - Polgahawela (RL-M1) -110 km (85 km within WR)
- Kelani Valley (KV) line (RL-M3) -60 km
- Ragama – Negombo line with new airport Access (RL-M2) -26 km
- Kottawa to Horana (RL-NR1) –22 km
- Kelaniya to Kosgama via Biyagama, and Dompe (RL-NR2) - 30 km
the first three lines already exist while the last two are proposed to be added to the net work in the future. The feasibility study on the Panadura–Veyangoda line has been proposed under the Colombo Suburban Railway Project under ADB assistance and as of April 2016 the Ministry of Transport has commenced shortlisting the consultants for the feasibility study.
A Light Rail Transit(LRT) system comprising seven lines will be elevated within Central Business District (CBD) and at-grade when running through suburbs. Japan International Cooperation Agency agreed to fund the project and is assisting in the feasibility study.
7 LRT lines are proposed which are,
- Green Line (RTS1) -15km – Fort–Kollupitiya-Bambalapitiya-Borella-Union Place-Maradana
- Yellow Line (RTS2)-11.5km – Fort- Maradana- Mattakkuliya/Peliyagoda-
- Red Line (RTS3) –10km – Dematagoda-Borella-Narahenpita-Kirulapone-Havelock City-Bambalapitiya
- Purple Line (RTS4) – 10km -Borella–Rajagiriya–Battramulla-Malabe
- Pink Line (RTS5) – 9.6km - Malabe – Kottawa
- Olive Line (RTS6) – 6km - Malabe - Kaduwela
- Ash Line (RTS7) – 13km - Peliyagoda - Kadawatha
There will be new boat services to enhance west-west connectivity as well as to promote eco-tourism during night hours. Three main routes have been identified which are,Wellawatta – Battaramulla Line (IW1)
Fort – Union Place (along Beire Lake) (IW2)
Mattakkuliya – Hanwella (along Kelani River) (IW3)
It is proposed to be launched as an public-private partnership. A boat service between Battaramulla and Nawala began in December 2016.
Expanding and extending existing key roadways and improving existing urban roads and intersections as well as building elevated roadways from New Kelani Bridge to Colombo Fort area, the Port and Battaramulla Flyovers are also being built as an interim solution for traffic congestion.
The plan proposes the expnasion and modernization of the Sapugaskanda oil refinary, new natural Gas power plants and conversion of existing petroleum based power plants to natural gas and conversion of overhead voltage lines to underground insulated cables ,exploration of natural gas reserves in Mannar ,development of clean energy such as Solar and Wind power as well as waste-to-energy power plants.
The project is divided into 11 planning areas in terms of geography and economic potential. Each with its own zoning rules and regulations,
1.Aero City Zone: Katunayake
The Aero City, will involve development of airport infrastructure including upgdrading the Aerodrome of the Colombo International Airport, New Passenger Terminal, Aero-City BusinessPark, Airport Hotel an International Convention Centre ,a second runway the BIA and the development of an Aero-City Residential Township in Minuwangoda
2.Tourism & Environmental Corridor: Muthurajawela
3.Industrial City: Meerigama
Situated in Meerigama aims to industries in Pharmaceuticals, electronic products, Edible products manufactured out of the cultivated agricultural products, Ceramics, glassware of the mineral based products, Cosmetic products manufacturing and provide location for SME’s that will support such industries. The project is aimed at creating a livable city for migrants from rural areas to settle in Mirigama without moving to Colombo which will result in the area attarcting real estate developers for workers attracted to the employement zone to de develop Develop quality housing, schools, healthcare facilities & other social insfrastructure.
4.Industrial City: Horana
The Industrial City occupies approximately 85 sqkm of existing towns and scattered villages.It is planned to attract large scale industries in Tyres and tubes, electronic products, Pharmaceuticals, Edible products manufactured out of the cultivated agricultural products which are scattered around the Western region without proper industrial infrastructure. The area was selected due to land availability and connectivity via the north south highwayNew residential townships will be created to provide affordable housing for workers attracting real estate development.
The Logistics City is strategically located in close proximity to the Colombo Port and the Airport and is expected to span across a region of 306 sq km.It will be linked to other areas of the project through multi modal connectivity such as dedicated roads, expressways and railway links for freight handling and transportation.Industrial clusters are proposed for facilities such as transshipment, dry port, warehousing, cold storage, vehicle repair, and cargo distribution The first phase of the Logistics city was launched in January 2017 by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister Champika Ranawaka. The first investment is a joint venture between GAC Group and Hemas Logistics to build a modern integrated logistics facility with a state-of-the-art distribution centre, container yard and a warehouse facility.
6.Colombo Core Area
The core area is divided into two main segments the Central Business District (CBD) and the Core area which overlaps with the boundaries of the Colombo and Gampaha Districts. The CBD project aims to develop the area for “work, live and play”. An unique shopping district along Beira lake is proposed alongside an entertainment district on the other side of the Beira lake and the Fort and Pettah areas will be developed into a pedestrial friendly area
7.The Outer Core Area
The area has been identified just outside the core area. They serve the suburbs that are expected to have higher population and purchasing power in the long term and is expected to be a medium density residential and mixed commercial development area
8.Plantation City: Avissawella
The Plantation City consists of 330 sqkm of plantation areas around Avissawella alongside pockets of residential development. The region's economy will be largely based on plantations and hopes to attract population from rural areas and to offer a different environment to live compared to the densely populated Colombo and the surrounding areas.
Occupying an area of approximately 1050 sqkm in the southern most part of the Western Region Megapolis the Forest city contains a small population mostly engaged in Agriculture and forest related activities. The area will be built upon farms, forests and heritage to improve the quality of life while protecting the environment. The economy will be largely based on tourism, including eco and agro tourism.
10.Coastal and Marine Zone
11.Science and IT City
Also known as the "Techno City" it is located in Homagama and Malabe to develop a knowledge-based innovation-driven economy with a major high-tech manufacturing and tradable services sectors.It will contain high-tech research and development centres, incubation centres, and high-tech industries with all requisite support services and facilities, and a dedicated technological university among other major technology centres. Science and Technology City will mainly focus on include Nano Technology, Civil Nuclear Technology, Space Technology, Information and Communication Technologies, Electronic Manufacturing and Semiconductor Technologies, Robotics and Automation, Bio-Technology, and Gene Technology. New universities, high quality residential will be developed to create a conducive environment for individuals working and living in this area. This project is expected to attract business park developers, software houses, big players in advanced technology and bio-medical industries as well as real estate developers. The city will also contain Shopping complexes, Cinemas, Schools, Recreational activities, Parking Blocks as well as National Space Technology Hub including Ground Station infrastructure for receiving & distribution of Earth Observation Satellite Data. The first phase of the project started in September 2016 with initial investments close to 20 Billion rupees by Universities and the Arthur C Clark Institution for Modern Technologies.