Monday, November 28, 2011

Southern Highway journey begins

Sri Lanka’s first Expressway - the E- 01 Southern Expressway- was declared open by President Mahinda Rajapakse today (November 27).

Sri Lanka President speaking at a public gathering after declaring open the country’s first Expressway stressed that separatist tendencies will fade away when we have better road connectivity in the country.

“The best solution to petty separatism and ethnic divisions is to have closer links among people through an efficient road network,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday.

Sri Lanka has turned a new leaf in its road development history, a turn towards the modernization of its road network in line with the best global practices” the President said. He said that the government plans to link all areas of the country through an Expressway network and called it a revolution in road development.

Sri Lanka's President on Sunday unveiled the island's first expressway, linking the capital and the southern city of Galle. The expressway links the island's southern port city of Galle with Colombo. The 96-kilometre (60-mile) four-lane road cost $700 million this new route will reduce congestion on the main coastal highway – the Galle Road- to Galle

Sri Lanka borrowed $178 million from the ADB and sought $317 million from the Japan International Cooperation Agency to finance the project. Japanese peace envoy to Sri Lanka Yashushi Akashi and the Vice President of the ADB were also present on the occasion of this opening ceremony.

The President noted that roads reducing travel time between areas could act as a catalyst for closer links between communities, people and added that this would spur unity and prevent any division within the country.

The President also said that the time when such things were a dream was over and added that this was the moment when dreams come true for Sri Lankans.

“It is another step in our promise to build a new and prosperous Sri Lanka” President said.

“When I was the Prime Minister and also in charge of road development, the people requested me to rebuild the ruined road to the Madhu Church.

I repaired the road and later the Bishop also invited me for the opening.” “However, later the Bishop told me that I have to get permission from the LTTE to travel to Madhu. I totally refused this and told at the time that I would travel to Madhu in the near future but without permission from anyone. This is the type of past we had,” he said.

The President said that soon there would be an Expressway linking Jaffna to Colombo via the A-9 and another from Colombo to Kandy. The Katunayake to Colombo Expressway would be vested in the public at the end of 2012, he added.

He noted that the time when the country’s youth dreamt about such facilities in developed countries was over and added that Sri Lanka would also have facilities equal to developed nations, in the near future.

“I have no doubt that this Expressway would show the path of prosperity for our future generations,” he added.

The President also said that the Expressway would help to promote the whole of South as an investment village and a tourist hub.

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