Damith Wickremasekara, in the Sunday Times, 30 June 2013
Construction work of the northern Expressway starting from Enderamulla in the Gampaha district and ending in Dambulla will start early next year, Highways Ministry Secretary and Road Development Authority (RDA) Chairman R.W.R. Premasiri said yesterday. He said the first phase of the project — from Enderamulla to Ambepussa — is expected to cost US$ 1 billion (Rs. 130 billion) and would be completed with Chinese assistance.
The project to be handled by the Chinese on a Build-Operate-and-Transfer basis also includes a separate expressway extending from the Ambepussa interchange to Kandy. “One of the main aims of this project is to provide the necessary infrastructure to develop the tourist industry in the country while providing a better transport network,” Mr. Premasiri said.
He said 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, paddy, marshy and uncultivated areas. Only a few populated areas would be affected by the project.
The expressway to Ambepussa will go through Horape, Ragama, Walpola, Batuwatte, Bulugahagoda, Ganemulla, Yagoda, Gampaha, Daraluwa, Bemmulla, Magalegoda, Heendeniya, Veyangoda, Wadurawa, Keenawala, Pallewela, Ganegoda, Mirigama and Bothale. The 52.8 km Enderamulla-Ambespussa stretch will have five interchanges, 50 overpasses and 30 underpasses.
The second phase of the project envisages the extension of the expressway upto Pallendeniya in Kurunegala. It will pass through Boyawalane, Pothupitiya, Dampalassa, Ganegoda and Dehikumbura before ending in PelleSndeniya, about five kilometres from the Kurunegala town.
The second phase will cover a distance of 39 km with three interchanges at Pothupitiya, Dampalassa and Pallendeniya. There will be 30 overpasses and five underpasses. The third phase of the project will be the construction of the 45.7 km motorway from Ambepussa to Kandy. This road will have interchanges at Rambukkana and Hedeniya and will pass through Devalegama, Pinnawala, Rambukkana, Hatharaliyadda, Hedeniya. A significant feature of his expressway is the construction of a one km long tunnel.
In addition, a 12 km ring road will be constructed between Gannoruwa and Katugastota to reduce traffic congestion in the Kandy city. The final stage of the project will take the expressway from Pallendeniya to Dambulla covering a distance of 62 km. There will be three interchanges at Pellandeniya, Galewela and Dambulla. This stretch of the expressway will pass through Wallawa, Gokarella, Melsiripura, Omaragolla and Galewela, before reaching Dambulla.