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Vision | Mission | Goals & Objectives | Roles & Responsibilities | Organization | History | RDA Act
About RDA
  Our Vision

To upgrade the National Highway Network to meet the expectations of all stakeholders and to make the Road Development Authority an institution of multidisciplinary excellence in Highway Engineering.


Our Mission

As the premier National Organization of the road sector, to provide an adequate and efficient network National Highways, to ensure mobility and accessibility at an acceptable level of safety and comport, in an environment friendly manner for the movement of people and goods for the socio-economic development of the nation.


Goals & Objectives

Goals and objectives of Road Development Authority are as follows;

  1. Achieve an adequate National Highway Network.
  2. Achieve an acceptable level of mobility in the National Highway Network.
  3. Provide a high mobility expressway network.
  4. Maintain the National Highway Network at an acceptable condition.
  5. Reduce road user cost.
  6. Improve road safety in the National Highway Network.
  7. Ensure efficient utilization of assets and investments.
  8. Ensure protection of the environment in all activities.
  9. Promote organizational development.
  10. Assist in the development of the local road construction industry.


Roles & Responsibilities

The functions performed by the RDA consist mainly of the maintenance and development of the roads and bridges in the National Highway Network and the planning, design and construction of new highways, bridges and expressways to augment the existing network.

The RDA has a responsibility for the development of the road network to cater for the on-going overall development programme of the country. Since, Road Transport is the primary mode of transport in the country, it is very vital that road network is adequate to developed to promote efficient transport of people and goods. The RDA has a responsibility to plan the future road network taking into consideration the future travel demand and formulating project proposals to meet this demand.

The RDA being the Principal Highway Authority has a responsibility to provide a road network to meet the social aspirations of the people in terms of mobility and safety. Since, the people at large depend on public transport for their travel needs it is the responsibility of the RDA to maintain the road network to a reasonable standard so that there would be un-interrupted public transport available to them.

Since, the rehabilitation and development of the road network is undertaken with public funds at a very high cost, it is responsibility of the RDA to ensure that the adequate economic returns are achieved from the investments made on highway improvements. This is achieved by carrying out feasibility studies before major projects are undertaken and followed by post evaluation of these projects after completion.


Organizational Structure of RDA

The RDA is a major Civil Engineering Organization with specialized skills in Highway and Bridge Planning, Design, Construction, Maintenance and Highway Safety. The organizational structure is designed to carry out the functions assigned to the RDA and to achieve its goals and objectives.

The RDA organization under the Board of management has the Director General as the Chief Executive Officer. The Director General is assisted by 5 Additional Director Generals and 17 Directors to carry out various functions.

There are 17 functional divisions in RDA each headed by a Director. Director Internal Audit functions directly under Chairman of RDA; The Directors in charge for Mechanical division, Legal Division & Expressway Operation & Management division operate directly under the Director General. The rest of 14 functional divisions are managed by 4 Additional Director Generals.

Foreign funded projects in RDA are managed by Project Management Units.  Each project management unit is headed by a Project Director and they operate under the Additional Director General for Projects.

The RDA has a workforce of 4,562 employees on permanent and contract basis comprising of engineering, technical, administrative, accounting and other support staff. In addition it has 4,024 permanent and 2,428 contract basis labourers employed for routine maintenance work.

Functional Divisions

  1. Administration Division
  2. Finance Division
  3. Planning Division
  4. Engineering Services Division
  5. Highway Designs Division
  6. Research & Development Division
  7. Training Division
  8. Mechanical Division
  9. Land Division
  10. Environment & Social Development Division
  11. Maintenance Management and Construction Division
  12. Legal Division
  13. Construction Division
  14. Rural Bridge Construction Unit
  15. Procurement Division
  16. Expressway Operation, Maintenance & Management Division
  17. Internal Audit Division


Historical Development of the Road Sector Organizations and Road Network

The historical development of the road network in the country dates back to Colonial times when roads were constructed mainly to transport agricultural produce such as Tea and Coffee from plantation areas to the Colombo harbour and for Civil Administration and defence. The roads initially constructed in the country catered for animal drawn carts. With the advent of the motor vehicles in the country in the 1940s, it became necessary to improve the road network to cater for the needs of the motor vehicles.

In the 1950s the main road network of the country was developed and maintained by the Public Works Department. This department was responsible not only for Roads but also for Buildings, Water Supply & Drainage, Housing etc. In the mid 1960s the Public Works Department was responsible only for the Development and Maintenance of the Public Roads and Buildings. In 1969 a major policy change was made and a new Department of Highways was formed solely for the Development and Maintenance of the A, B, C, D and E class roads maintained by the then Department of Public Works, and the total kilometreage of these roads was approximately 28,000 km.

However, this change was short lived, since the Territorial Civil Engineering Organisation (TCEO) was formed in 1971 to take over the major functions of the Highways Department. Upto 1970 the Highways Department and then Public Works Department had fully fledged Bridges Division which undertook the design and construction of all major bridges in the country. However, with the formation of the TCEO another organisation known as State Development and Construction Corporation (SD & CC) was formed to undertake the construction of bridges and other civil engineering works. The functions of TCEO included maintenance and improvements of A, B, C, D and E class roads, maintenance and improvements of Irrigation Works, maintenance and improvements of village tanks, irrigation canals and providing assistance to local authorities for road & bridge improvement works on local authority roads. Although, the Highways Department also functioned during this period, its functions were reduced to planning, design of major roads and bridges and construction supervision of major road and bridge works.

Another major re-organisation of the Highways Sector was effected in 1978 when the TCEO was abolished and functions of the TCEO transferred back to the Highways Department. In 1983 the Road Development Authority (RDA) was formed under the Ministry of Highways incorporated by the RDA Act No 73 of 1981. The functions of RDA at its inception were confined to the execution of selected construction works.

The functions of the RDA were expanded in 1986, when it became the successor to the then Department of Highways. In 1986, the RDA was entrusted with the responsibility of developing and maintaining all classified roads in the country (A,B,C,D and E class roads) totalling upto approximately 28,000 kms of roads and the bridges thereon. In 1989 with the devolution of power under the 13th amendment to the constitution, the C, D and E class roads totalling approximately 17,000 kms and the bridges thereon were handed over to the Provincial Councils. Since then the RDA is entrusted with the development and maintenance of the National Highway Network comprising the Trunk (A class) and Main (B class) roads. The National Highway Network consists of 11, 694 km of roads and 4,048 bridges (span of more than 3m) as at end 2005 including the roads taken over as National Highways during the past few years.




  1. Road Development Authority Act No. 73 of 1981
  2. Road Development Authority (Special Provisions) Act No. 5 of 1988


  1. National Thoroughfares Act, No. 40 of 2008
  2. Thoroughfares Act.
  3. Thoroughfares (Amendment) Act, No. 9 of 1988
  4. Thoroughfares (Amendment) Act, No. 81 of 1988

Motor Traffic Act (Chapter 203)

  1. Part I : Section (I) General ( Dimensions and gross vehicle weight)