(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The new stretch from Matara-Godagama to Hambantota-Barawakumbuka of the southern expressway, E01, was declared open by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday.
This 56-Kilometer long extension, 30 kilo meters from Godagama to Beliatta and 26 kilo meters from Beliatta to Barawakumbuka has been built at a cost of Rs.169 billion.
With the opening of the new stretch, the southern expressway becomes the first such road in the in South Asia, which directly connects two international airports and two international ports.
Godagama (Matara) – Mattala (Hambantota) full extension of the SEW is 96 kilometers long and will be built at a cost of Rs. 225 billion. This comprises with eight inter-changes namely Godagama, Aparekka, Beliatta, Kahagalla, Angunakolapelessa, Wetiya, Sooriyawewa and Andarawewa.
The Sooriyawewa exit has been built targeting the vehicles reaching the Sooriyawewa International Cricket Stadium.
This also comprises with 14 bridges and several under and over passes. One such over pass of 700 meters will be helpful to the wild animals in the Aparekka, Dandeniya reserve to cross the road without harm.
Nearly 20 percent of the opened phase (11.87 Km) runs on pillars and thereby preventing the possibilities of the floods in those areas. Sri Lanka’s longest flyover, which is 4.9 Kilo meters long, is also situated within this new stretch.
The President and the Prime Minister opened the new phase at the Godagama-Palatuwa entrance and left for Barawakumbura through the expressway after ceremonially purchasing the first and the second tickets at the toll gate respectively.
MP Namal Rajapaksa drove the vehicle travelled by the President and Minister of Roads and Highways Johnston Fernando drove the vehicle travelled by the Prime Minister to Barawakumbuka. Both President and the Prime Minister waved to the crowds flocking at the Aparekka and Beliatta entrances and also received blessings by the Maha Sangha there.
Construction of this new extension of the SEW was to end on April 11 this year according to the contract but, it was finished 50 days prior to the agreed day.