ADB Vice President to attend Southern Expressway opening today

Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice President Xiaoyu Zhao- is in Sri Lanka to attend the opening of the ADB-funded Southern Expressway today (November 27). An ADB statement on Friday said he would be accompanied by the bank’s Director General of South Asia Department Sultan Hafeez Rahman and senior officials.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will ceremonially declare open the highway this morning, the first toll levying highway in the country. It will be open to the public from 6 p.m. onwards. Japanese peace envoy to Sri Lanka Yashushi Akashi will represent the Japanese government at today’s opening ceremony.

Japan together with the ADB funded the project,.ADB said its involvement with the Southern Expressway spanned a period well over 10 years dating to the period in 1999 when it approved a $90 million loan to cover the construction of a two -lane access control highway from Kurundugahahethekma to Godagama, with a provision for later expansion into a six-lane expressway.

In 2008, the ADB provided a supplementary loan of $ 90 million, to accommodate the expansion from a two-lane highway to a four-lane expressway. ADB said it has worked closely with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on this project.

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