June 11, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa this afternoon made an inspection tour to observe the progress of the Southern Expressway, now nearing completion.
The President observed sections of the expressway at Kottawa, Kalutara, Elpitiya and Galle areas.
Before beginning the observation tour, the President met the engineers of the Expressway at the Colombo Outer Circle Expressway, the President’s media unit said.
The ministers and the MPs representing relevant districts and the officials joined the President in this observation tour.
Later, the President went to Galle town and observed the construction of the new bus stand in Galle.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Highways Nirmala Kothalawala told media that the first stage of the 126 km Colombo-Matara Expressway from Pinnaduwa in Galle to Kottawa in Colombo district would be opened in September. Earlier the government indicated that the portion will be opened in July.
He also revealed plans to launch bus services from Kottawa to Pinnaduwa along the Expressway. Bus services are to start from Lewwanduwa and Dodangoda entry points as well in the second stage, he said.
The Expressway will be Sri Lanka’s first toll road and only high speed vehicles will be allowed on the road. The expressway will have 11 entry/exit points.
Construction on the highway began in 2006 at a cost of $800 million. The Asian Development Bank, Exim Bank of China and the Japan International Cooperation Agency are providing financial assistance for the express highway project.