COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (11 January 2005) - The day after the tsunami rendered impassable the main southern road between Bentota and Matara, a Japanese contractor working on an ADB project diverted its resources to clearing the vital highway and allowing aid relief to reach affected areas more quickly.
Acting on a request from the government, the contractor, Kumagai Gumi Co. Ltd, sent a 100-strong team and a large fleet of heavy duty equipment.
Using loaders, dump trucks, cranes and motor graders, the team completed clearing the road section from Bentota to Galle by 31 December 2004 and the road from Galle to Matara by 4 January 2005.
"They removed huge rocks and debris from the road and installed bailey bridges where bridges had been washed out," says Bob Rinker, deputy country director and head of portfolio management at ADB's resident mission in Colombo. "They worked flat out to clear a major impediment to the relief effort."
The contractor is working on the ADB-financed section of the Southern Transport Development Project, a 128-km expressway between Colombo and Matara due for completion in 2007.