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* Construction of Sri Lanka's Colombo-Jaffna Northern Expressway begins
Tue, Feb 25, 2014, 10:27 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 25, Colombo: Construction work of the Northern Expressway from capital Colombo to northernmost city of Jaffna has started, the Director General of the Road Development Authority (RDA) W.A.S. Weerasinghe said.

According to the official, the 300-kilometer long highway will be constructed under four stages and the first stage of the project from Enderamulla to Ambepussa is expected to cost US$ 1 billion and it would be completed with Chinese assistance.

The 52.8 km Enderamulla-Ambespussa stretch will have five interchanges, 50 overpasses and 30 underpasses.

The second phase of the project would see the extension of the expressway to Pallendeniya in Kurunegala. It will cover a distance of 39 km with three interchanges at Pothupitiya, Dampalassa and Pallendeniya. There will be 30 overpasses and five underpasses.

The third and final phases of the project will include the extension of the expressway from Pallendeniya to Dambulla and connecting to the A9 road to Jaffna from Dambulla.

The total cost of the project is estimated at US$ 4.5 billion (Rs. 600 billion).

The RDA official said the authorities will give attention to opinions and suggestions of the people, who are being affected by the highway construction.

According to Mr. Weerasinghe the cabinet has granted approval to provide compensation to the owners of the lands acquired according to the prevailing market prices within a period of six weeks.

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