The Sri Lanka Southern Expressway Extension officially opened to traffic on Feb。 23。
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, and Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan attended the opening ceremony。 Later, they took a ride as the first passengers on the expressway。 Government officials of Sri Lanka, directors of China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) South Asia, and constructor representatives of Sino-Sri Lanka projects were present at the ceremony, along with more than 5,000 local residents joining the celebration。
At the ceremony, Mahinda Rajapaksa said China and Sri Lanka shared a long, prosperous friendship, and China has been supporting Sri Lanka’s development in many significant ways. Now that the Southern Expressway Extension has connected Colombo and Hambantota, cargos from around the world, upon arriving Hambantota, will be transported quickly to the capital city, which also bolsters the country’s standing in the Belt and Road Initiative.
A key project of the Marine Silk Road of 21st Century co-developed by Chinese and Sri Lankan governments, the Southern Expressway Extension is also the first large infrastructure project constructed by CSCEC in Sri Lanka. At a total length of 96 kilometers, the expressway extension was divided into four sections, of which the second and the third were contracted to CSCEC. Section 3 was completed on Nov. 7 last year.
The expressway, linking Colombo port, Hambantota port, Hambantota airport, and Colombo international airport, formed a new economic artery in the country, bringing Sri Lanka one step closer to becoming an economic hub in South Asia.