Southern Expressway to open next month:
A Speedy and safe journey to Galle
The construction of the southern expressway has opened a new chapter
in the transport sector in Sri Lanka providing an opportunity for safe
and speedier transport facilities for users.
Arrangements have been taken to open the Kottawa to Pinnaduwa section
of the expressway next month, enabling a motorist from Kottawa to reach
Pinnaduwa in one hour. The High-Level Road from Kottawa to Colombo is
being developed parallel to the expressway.
Construction of the other stage of the expressway from Galle to
Matara has already commenced and it would be opened for the public later
The entire project will cost Rs 75 billion once the final stage from
Pinnaduwa to Matara is completed. Total expenditure of the southern
express way from Pinnaduwa to Kottawa is about Rs 60 billion.
Transportation is a vital element in the well-being and development
of any economy. The Southern expressway will provide massive economic
benefits to the country.
It will improve transport facilities for future development in the
Southern Region. The highway will act as a catalyst in encouraging and
attracting industries and services for the economic and social
development of the region.
It will also promote inter-regional transport facilities by
developing this road, considering it as a major component of the
proposed expressway network.
The new expressway will reduce the time taken to travel between
Colombo to Matara and Colombo to Galle. According to the Road
Development Authority, this will save two hours of travel time from the
The expressway will have eight toll points in Kottawa, Kahathuduwa,
Galanigama, Donangoda, Welipanna, KurundugahaHethakma, Baddegama and
Initially there would be two lanes and the travel time to Pinnaduwa
will be around one hour.
If a driver wants to stop halfway for refreshments he or she would
have to move out of the expressway through an access point and rejoin
the expressway later.
The maximum speed on the highway is 100 kmph. The government will
also make necessary arrangements to install CCTV cameras on both sides
of the road to monitor vehicle speed.
Light vehicles will be charged three rupees per kilometre. Heavy
vehicles will also be allowed on the expressway and they will be charged
nine rupees per kilometre.
Luxury buses will be allowed to travel on the southern highway and
the bus toll will be less than Rs 350.
Motorcycles, bicycles, three-wheelers and tractors are prohibited
from entering the southern expressway.
Payment counters in the entry points from Kottawa to Pinnaduwa are
being constructed and it would provide employment for over 200 people.
It is planned to deploy special teams of police, vehicle repair units,
the fire brigade, as well as teams of doctors and nurses along the
Construction on the highway began in 2006 at a cost of $ 600 million.
The Asian Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation
Agency are providing financial assistance for the expressway project.
A significant number of people in the area who were evicted due to
the construction of expressway have received compensation to reconstruct
The Southern Expressway is the first expressway in Sri Lanka and it
is the longest expressway out of the proposed expressway network. It
runs from Kottawa to Matara (126 km) and also includes Galle Fort Access
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan Bank of International
Cooperation (JBIC) are the main funding agencies for this project. A
section from Kottawa to Kurundugahahetekma (65 km) was undertaken by
JBIC and the section from Kurundugahahetekma to Godagama, Matara (64.8
km) was undertaken by the ADB. Southern Expressway will be extended upto
Hambanthota later. The Colombo outer circular express highway (also
known as the outer circular highway, Colombo inter provincial Orbital
Route or the Arthur C. Clarke Expressway), the 29km long outer circular
road network will link the Colombo-Matara expressway and will provide an
orbital beltway to bypass the Colombo city and help reduce traffic
In addition to the Peliyagoda and Katunayake inter changes, two other
inter changes at Ja-Ela and Kerawalapitiya will be connected to the
expressway to the outer circular road.
A sign board indicating a restaurant ahead
The cascades in the highway
RDA engineer Rukshan Rupasinghe explaining details
An inter section on the expressway Pictures by Thushara
The main entrance from Colombo in Makumbura, Pannipitiya
Picture by Saliya Rupasinghe