Oct 27, Colombo: Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa today declared opened the Colombo - Katunayake Expressway (CKE) , the 26 kilometer high speed expressway linking the country's main Colombo International Airport to the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.
Opening Sri Lanka's second expressway, President unveiled a commemorative plaque at the entrance to the CKE at Peliyagoda and drove his vehicle to the Seeduwa Control Exchange where he paid the toll.
He inspected the video system at the Seeduwa control stations and proceeded to the Katunayake Exchange where he was received by flag-waving school students.
Addressing the occasion the President said with the opening of the highway the government has proven that it can successfully meet any challenge thrown at the government.
He emphasized that the development of a country is gauged by the development of a road network in a country and the expressway declared open today will provide benefits to both the local and foreign people.
Reiterating that the country has achieved peace and there was no bloodshed or terrorist activity in the country after 19th May 2009, the President appealed to the people to give their fullest cooperation to the development programme being implemented by the government for the benefit of the future generation.
He noted that when the government is making effort to develop the country certain elements are making various allegations against the government and therefore, the government has to spend much precious time to file response in Geneva to the allegations.
The 25.8 kilometer long expressway was built at a cost of US$ 291 million with a loan from China.
The CKE is expected to reduce the travel time between Colombo and the Airport to about 20 minutes. Speed limit will be 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph) for the first eight kilometers (5.0 mi) and 110 km/h (68 mph) for the rest of the road.
First Lady Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa, Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, Chinese diplomats, ministers and parliamentarians also participated in the event.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)