The Higher Education and Highways Ministry today sought Parliamentary approval for Rs.53,000 million to fund six projects including the extension of the Southern Expressway, construction of the third phase of the Colombo Outer Circular Road and the construction of a new bridge across the Kelani River.
Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella informed Parliament that Rs. 51.5 billion out of the Rs. 53 billion would be raised under the loan scheme of China, Japan and Asian Development Bank, while only Rs. 2.5 billion would be sought from local funds.
He said the extension of the Southern Expressway from Godagama to Hambantota by 96 km was under construction and that 35 percent of the construction had been completed.
He said Rs. 29, 060 million was allocated from the 2017 budget but the allocated funds had already been spent and added that Rs. 24,000 million foreign loans and Rs. 1,200 local funds were needed for the year 2017.
He said the expressway would be opened by 2019.
Minister Kiriella said Rs. 6,000 million more was needed for the construction of the Colombo Outer Circular Road from Kadawatha to Kerawalapitiya for the rest of 2017 as the allocated funds of Rs. 5,000 million had already been spent.
He said additional funds of Rs. 6,000 million were needed for the year 2017 for the construction of a new bridge across the Kelani River as well.
He said the project was funded by a loan provided by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
He said the construction work of the bridge would commence in October this year and expected to complete the project by 2020.
He said Rs. 3750 million for the first phase of the third priority road project, Rs. 8,000 million for the i-Road project and Rs. 4,050 million for the second phase of the third priority road project were needed for the rest of 2017. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)