[size=33]Northern Expressway First Phase construction begins today[/size]
The first phase of construction work of expressway to the North will commence in Galewela, Galagedara, Rambukkana and Kurunegala next week. The foundation stones will be laid at Senkada interchange, Rambukkana and Galewela interchange today (14) and tomorrow (15) at the Kurunegala "Abiman" interchange, the Project Minister of Highways, Ports and Shipping Nirmala Kotelawala said.
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. 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 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.
The second phase of the project would see the extension of the expressway to Pallendeniya in Kurunegala. It 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 and final phases of the project will include the extension of the expressway from Pallendeniya to Dambulla and connecting to the A9 road to Jaffna from Dambulla.
When the Northern Expressway is constructed, Kandy - Colombo and Colombo - Dambulla travel will take only one and half hours, according to the Minister.
The four lane expressway will be built at a cost of approximately US$ 4.5 billion and is scheduled to be completed by 2018.