Kalutara Bridge: An Unspoken Heritage

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kalutara bridge over kalu river
Modern Bridges over the Kalu River from the temple | Photo Credit: Nadun Egodage

Sri Lanka, also known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean is adorned with the beautiful mother nature and claims a proud history going back as far as 500 BC. Colonialism plays a significant role in the country’s olden times.

It was under the influence of Portuguese, Dutch and the British in their respective eras. Several historic sites in Sri Lanka originated during these periods and still remains as evidence of these influences. The Kalutara Bridge is such significant landmark inherited as a result of the Colonial period.

kalu river bridges
The bridges, seen from within the Kalutara Chaithya

Kalutara bridge is the connecting line between the western and southern borders of the country. J. R. Mosse, Director of the PWD (Public works department) is the pioneer in designing and building the bridge and it was the largest bridge on the island built during the early 1900s. It was considered the first concrete bridge in Sri Lanka as well.

Did you know? Locals say on very clear mornings one can see Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak) Mountain from the bridge. Which is, in turn, the starting point of Kalu River. That would make Kalu River the only river in Sri Lanka of which starting point and ending point can be seen at the same time.

The old bridge comprised of two separate bridges, each with 6 spans of lattice girders where a single girder was an enormous 100ft long.

It is separated by a ridge in the middle of the river (Kalu Ganga) and it was opened for road traffic in August 1877 along with a single line of rails in the middle. It was 450ft in length.

Currently, There are twin bridges for railway and one for the road traffic. And it is a perfect place to watch the sunset.

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