The construction of Central Expressway Phase II will be complete in 2.5 years, Minister of Higher Education and Highways Lakshman Kiriella said commencing construction work of the highway from Meerigama to Kurunegala, yesterday.
For the first time the contract for such a project has been awarded to a local contractor, the minister claimed adding that both the President and the Prime Minister of the country are keen to involve local contractors.
“During the previous regime, no contracts were given to local contractors. All this was possible because of the change in political culture. We are receiving foreign aid because both main parties are working with unity. We believe that all fields will develop rapidly in the future,” he claimed.
Kiriella highlighted that the United National Party planned the Central Expressway in 2002 with plans to involve Malaysian investors to construct the highway.
“Because of this regime change, we couldn’t construct the Central Expressway as planned. But today with the change in political culture and as leaders of both parties are working with unity, the international community have come forward to provide us with aid,” he said.
The construction from Meerigama to Kurunegala consists of a length of 39.7 kilometres which also includes a 9.7 kilometre access road running up to Abepussa. The Central Expressway Project – II from Meerigama to Kurunegala consists of four lanes and five interchanges and the speed limit has been set to 100kmph. The interchanges will be constructed at the Meerigama North, Nakulugamuwa, Pothuhera, Dhambokka and Kurunegala sections. Bridges with a combined distance of 1095m will be constructed in four sections of the stretch from Meerigama to Kurunegala.
The minister highlighted that a number of other highways across the country will also be constructed to improve the transport sector. This includes the Colombo-Ruwanpura Pelmadulla Expressway, Colombo-Kurunegala-Dambulla Expressway and the Flyover connecting Rajagiriya, Kelaniya and Kirulapone.
He also said that the government is able to secure foreign aid as there was unity among the main parties.
“If there was no unity among us, we would’ve not received any aid from the international community to initiate such mega projects,” he claimed.
State Minister of Highways Dilan Perera, UNP Chief Organiser of the Dabadiwa Electorate Shamal Senarath, SLFP Chief Organiser of the Dabadiwa Electorate Shantha Bandara, Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education and Highways D.C. Dissanayaka and Chairman of the Road Development Authority - Nihal Sooriyaarachchi also attended this event.