Government will soon launch a feasibility study and an environmental impact assessment on the proposed expressway to the country's North.
The Cabinet of Ministers has granted approval to a proposal submitted by the President in his capacity as the Minister of Ports and Highways to carry out feasibility studies, environmental impact assessment and preparation of documents to invite Expression of Interest and Requests for Proposals for Phase 1 of the proposed Northern Expressway.
The government will award a contract for the consultancy services to carry out feasibility studies for the phase 1 of the project to an Australian company, SMEC International through direct contracting method.
The Northern Expressway which will link Colombo to Jaffna via Kandy is one of the six expressways identified for implementation in the National Road Master Plan 2007-2017.
Sri Lanka last year opened Southern Expressway, its first ever expressway, linking capital Colombo with the southern city of Galle.
The proposed highway which connects Kandy to Jaffna through Kurunegala and Trincomalee is 300 kilometers at length.
The tentative corridor for phase 1 of the expressway from Colombo to Kandy via Rambukkana has been identified and is proposed to be implemented in three stages.
In the first stage a 42.5 kilometer segment form Colombo to Mirigama with interchanges at Enderamulla, Gampaha, Veyangoda and Mirigama will be constructed.
In the 35 kilometer segment to be constructed in the second stage will have interchanges at Pothupitiya, Dampalassa and Pellandeniya while the 44 kilometer segment in third stage will have interchanges at Pothupitiya, Polgahawela, Rambukkana and Hedeniya.
The cost for the first phase of the road project is estimated to be one billion US dollars.