Central Expressway project leaves unanswered questions

Central Expressway project leaves unanswered questions

Written by Staff Writer

10 Jan, 2016 | 9:19 pm

In 2014, the previous regime planned the Northern Expressway project at an estimated cost of Rs. 120 billion.

Under this project, it was proposed to construct a stretch of road from Kadawatha to Mirigama comprising six lanes and two interchanges. However, following the appointment of the 100-day government, the estimate for this proposal came under scrutiny and the new government stated that it had slashed unnecessary expenditure.

On April 2, 2015, Former Deputy Minister of Highways Eran Wickremeratne said that they are cutting down on expenditure and corruption, adding that the section of the Central Expressway will be open for public bidding.

On Aug. 3, 2015, the first phase of construction of this project, re-named the Central Expressway, commenced under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The estimated cost of this project is Rs. 145.9 billion. The cost per kilometre is Rs. 4.5 billion.

Convening a media briefing on Aug. 5, several members of the then-opposition said that the 100-day government, which criticised the estimated cost of the previous government, had commenced construction of the expressway at a much higher cost.

Despite the fact that the expenditure on the proposed expressway gained much criticism, in the end the contract for the construction of the expressway was given to the same Chinese company. Even the loan obtained for the project was from the same Chinese bank.

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