Historic Images of Sri Lanka

Bridge of Boats over Kalani Ganga at Grand Pass 1880?s

Bridge of Boats over Kalani Ganga at Grand Pass

Boat bridge over Kalani Ganga at Grand Pass c.1880's #IMG273

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Photography: Charles Scowen and Co.

In early 1800s roads were not very different from the Dutch track along the coast of Ceylon. They were rough clearings through forests and had no permanent bridges or culverts. The approaches to rivers and streams were graded to enable carts to cross them in ferry boats. The only exceptions were the road from Colombo to Kandy and the one which branched off from Ambepussa to Kurunagala where bridges were built.

This boat bridge, which was 499 feet long, was built over the Kelani river at Grand Pass in 1822 by Lieutenant General John Sheaffer. Bridge was built using 21 boats tied together, made entire out of timber. It served passengers and goods crossing the Kelani River until the building of the Victoria Bridge in 1895.

Three other bridges were built on the fifty-ninth mile, on the sixty-seventh mile over the Nanuoya, and at Mavanalla. Over the Mahavali Ganga at Peradeniya a bridge of satinwood was completed in 1832.

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