President Mahinda Rajapaksa will today launch construction work on the first phase of the proposed Northern Expressway, which also has an extension to Kandy.
The President will lay the foundation stone at the Senkadagala entrance launching the construction of the Kandy - Colombo segment of the Expressway.
The 300-kilometer long highway will be constructed under four stages and the first stage of the project from Enderamulla to Ambepussa is expected to cost US$ 1 billion and it would be completed with Chinese assistance, according to the Government Information Department. The 52.8 km Enderamulla-Ambespussa stretch will have five interchanges, 50 overpasses and 30 underpasses.
The Outer Colombo Circular Road, constructed from Enderamulla will connect to the Northern Expressway to Dambulla covering the main towns of Meerigama, Pothuhera, Kurunegala, Melsiripura and Galewela, under the first phase.
The entry way to Kandy will also be constructed as a part of this phase. It will begin from Pothuhera and end at Gannoruwa.
When the Northern Expressway is constructed, Kandy - Colombo and Colombo - Dambulla travel will take only one and half hours, according to Project Minister of Highways, Ports and Shipping, Nirmala Kotelawala.
The four lane expressway will be built at a cost of approximately US$ 4.5 billion and is scheduled to be completed by 2018.