The Matara to Hambantota extension of the Southern Expressway is to open during the 1st quarter of this year (2020), Road and Highways, Ports and Shipping Minister Johnston Fernando said.
Construction of the 96km long extension of the Southern Expressway consists of four phases.
The first phase covers a 30 km section from Matara to Beliatta while a 26 km section from Beliatta to Barawakumbuka is in the second phase and 15 km from Barawakumbuka to Andarawewa in the third and 25 km from Andarawewa to Hambantota and Mattala in the fourth stage.
Work on the third and fourth phases including the access roads and the flyovers for by-roads that cross the expressway have been completed. Tunnels for animals to cross the highway have also been built. The expressway has been built on pillars in agricultural valleys and complete with water tunnels and an elephant fence.
The total cost of the project is Rs. 250 billion. The project is jointly implemented by the Ministry of Highways and Petroleum Development and the Road Development Authority.
The 96-kilometer project was undertaken by three Chinese companies, with a $1.9 billion concessional loan from the Export-Import Bank of China. (Colombo Gazette)