Halaba is a small village in the Badulla Uva Paranagama area close to the Uma Oya. A spectacular 372 feet long steel bridge lies across Uma Oya at Halaba where no roads exists or ever existed. Why the English who ruled the country pored so much effort to build such a massive bridge in nowhere is a puzzle still not solved.
The bridge is built at one of the widest points of Uma Oya where its is about 300 feet wide and 25-40 feet deep. It is built at a height of about 100 feet above the river connecting Uva Paranagama and Hali-Ela. There is no roads to the bridge from either end other than a footpath.
This mysterious steel bridge has been built in 1919 ( some web sites mention it as 1872) in 3 segments of 124 feet each. The two ends are 10 feet wide and the mid portion is 8 feet wide. Wooden sleepers have been laid across the bridge to travel over the river. A small plate at the top of the bridge states that the bridge was manufactured at a government plant in 1919.
One belief is that the bridge was destined to be installed at Halawatha (Chillaw) but due to some mistake it was installed at Halaba.
Traveling from Hali-Ela, you need to take the Ketawela Road and then the road towards the popular Bogoda Bridge. Traveling 2.2 km on this road will bring you to the Nikagolla – Ketawala Road to the left. This narrow road will end at the Halaba Bridge after 6 km. Last part of this road is tough and will need a four wheel drive.
Traveling from Uva Paranagama area, you need to travel about 20kms on the Welimada – Uva Paranagama Maspanna road to reach the Bambarapana Junction. Take the Maha Kumbura Road for about 10 km to reach the bridge. The last 3 kilometers are said to be extremely tough probably requiring a 4×4.
Map of Halaba Steel Bridge
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Travel Directions to Halaba Steel Bridge
Route from Badulla to Halaba Steel Bridge
|Through : Hali-Ela – Ketawala|
Distance :18 km
Travel time : 45 – 60 mins
Time to spend : 30-45 mins
Driving directions : see on google map