Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa has officially opened the country’s second China-funded airport highway, the 25.8km-long Colombo-Katunayake Expressway.
The new $292m road that connects between Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake and Colombo will reduce the travel time between the country’s international airport and the capital city from two hours to around 20 minutes.
Built with a loan of $248.2m from Exim Bank of China, the new expressway will provide improved safety for commuters and a pleasant journey for travellers, while enhancing the country’s economy.
This four-lane highway with a designed top speed of 100kmph comprises three interchanges – Peliyagoda, Jaela and Katunayake, and links with the Outer Circular Highway (OCH) at Kerawalapitiya junction.
The expressway also runs through a part of the Negombo Lagoon area.
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Highways also announced the toll fee for vehicles commuting on the new expressway from Peliyagoda to Katunayake.
Toll fee for cars, cabs, jeeps, and small vans will be LKR300 ($2.28), and the total toll for lorries and buses will be LKR600 ($4.57).
China has been Sri Lanka’s major finance provider as the island nation rebuilds after almost a three-decade civil war. It offered the island nation $1.2bn in 2009 and $821m in 2010.
China was one of the funders for the Southern expressway, which was Sri Lanka’s first highway that officially opened in 2011.
Among other major projects funded by China is a $1.3bn coal power plant on the northwestern shore and a variety of other projects in the southern part of the country, including a $1.2bn harbour.