Arrangements are being made to open next September, the 26 kilometre-long Katunayake - Kelaniya Expressway. The Ports and Highways Ministry commenced the construction of the express way in 2008 under the direction of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa who inspected the expressway instructed the relevant officials to plant trees native to Sri Lanka on either side of the road after conserving the marshy lands on either side of the expressway and cleaning the Dutch Canal.
Speaking on the occasion the minister Basil Rajapaksa said that the true benefits of the Southern and Colombo-Katunayake Expressways can be reaped only after the completion of the Northern Expressway, the initial work on which has already begun.
Plans have been drawn up to construct the Northern Expressway in three stages - the first from Enderamulla to Ambepussa, the second from Meerigama to Pellandeniya and the third from Ambepussa to Kandy. Participating in a discussion on the construction of this expressway, Minister Basil Rajapaksa said the planning has to be done causing the least harm to human settlements and the natural environment.
Colombo-Katunayake Expressway is Sri Lanka's second E Class highway. The 25.8 kilometre-long highway will link the Sri Lankan capital Colombo with Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake. The highway is planned to have three lanes each way from Colombo to Peliyagoda and two lanes each way, from Peliyagoda to Katunayake with the width ranging from 26 to 34 metres.
Speed limit will be 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph) for the first eight kilometres (5.0 mi) and 110 km/h (68 mph) for the rest of the road.The Expressway will have 42 bridges and 88 culverts including a 480 metre long viaduct at Hunupitiya and a 800 metre viaduct at Katunayake.
Deputy Minister of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Lasantha Alagiyawanna and Ports and Highways Ministry Secretary Ranjith Premasiri were among those who attended the inspected tour.