Construction work on the Northern Expressway would start in November, Highways Project Minister, Nirmala Kotalawala said.
The Northern Expressway, from Enderamulla in Gampaha to Dambulla would be constructed in four phases and consist of four lanes initially. Chinese and local contractors would jointly undertake the construction of the expressway projects to the North as well as Kandy and was estimated to cost around Rs. 300 billion, Minister Kotalawela said.
Addressing a press briefing today, Highways Ministry Secretary and Road Development Authority (RDA) Chairman R.W.R. Premasiri said that the first phase of the 53 kilometre long highway would go up to Ambepussa. “The first 90 kilometers of the road would be undertaken by local contractors while the rest will be handled by Chinese contractors,” Premasiri said. He said that preliminary work, such as identifying the road corridor and finalising the road alignment with tentative acquisition boundaries, had been completed. “The proposed Enderamulla-Ambepussa stretch of the expressway will be constructed in most part, parallel to the railway line travelling through paddy, marshy and uncultivated areas and affecting only a few populated areas,” he said, adding that many segments of the highway would be elevated on concrete pillars to minimize the environmental and social impact.
The second phase was to be 38 kilometres long and would stretch from Mirigama to Kurunegala. There are three interchanges on Nakalagamuwa, Dambokka and Kurunegala. The third phase of the project would be the construction of the 52 km distance from Pothuhera to Kandy. It consists of interchanges at Pothuhera, Rambukkana, Galagedara, Aladeniya, and Gannoruwa.
The project was initiated following requests from the people of Kandy. However, later the President had directed that it be extended to cover the Northern, North Central and the Eastern Provinces as well. We hope to end the project by 2020,” the RDA Chairman said.
The fourth stage of the project would be the stretch from Kurunegala to Dambulla covering a distance of 60 km including three interchanges at Melsiripura, Galewela and Dambulla.
Northern Expressway Project Director L.V.S. Weerakoon said that land acquisition for the Northern Expressway Project had already begun with directives to pay the current market value for the land acquired. “We have acquired a land area of 6,819 acres for the expressway project that would be a boon to around 2, 749 families and 1,234 houses that lie along the way. We have been directed by the President to pay compensation for the lands,” he said. (Chaturanga Pradeep)