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Notes on the Geography of Sri Lanka: Kandy: British Infrastructure: Photo 10

world pictures Sri Lanka: Kandy: British Infrastructure

A bit of a mystery: the Haloluwa Tunnel under Bahirawakanda, the ridge overlooking Kandy from the northwest.  Why was the tunnel built?  On either side, the ridge is covered with houses; those on the north side are a bit more accessible with the tunnel, but its cost seems disproportionate to that convenience.  The keystone carries the date 1954, which suggests that the tunnel was built in the early years of independence, as though planners expected urban growth.  All this, however, is very misleading: the tunnel was built between 1824 and 1831, when the tunnel formed part of the main road north from Kandy to Kurunegala.  Coffee-laden carts used it on the way from Kandy to the Mahaweli ferry, and for them the tunnel saved a couple of hours of travel time.  The tunnel became superfluous when a bridge was built across the Mahaweli at Katugastata in 1860: good thing, because the central section of the tunnel collapsed about 1870 and wasn't repaired until the 1950s.

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