04th March 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com
A new expressway in southern Sri Lanka that will be partly open by the middle of this year will be confined only to fast-moving vehicles with slow-moving ones like auto-rickshaws and tractors banned, an official said.
R W R Pemasiri, director-general of the Road Development Authority, said the 126-kilometre southern expressway will be a toll road and also have cameras to control speeding.
The maximum speed on the expressway will be 100 kilometres an hour and the road will sharply reduce travel time between the capital Colombo and the island's south, reduce fuel and vehicle operating costs and improve comfort and reliability.
"We're planning to open the southern expressway from Kottawa, (a suburb south of Colombo) up to Galle (on the south coast) by the end of July or in August," Pemasiri told a forum on land transport strategies held by the Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics.
The access controlled expressway will have 11 interchanges for vehicle to enter.
"There will be restrictions on the types of vehicle allowed to use the expressway, vehicles like three-wheelers (auto-rickshaws), motorcycles, and tractors," Pemasiri said.
"Also, we will prevent overloaded vehicles on the expressway. Overloaded vehicles plying on the southern highway will lead to deterioration of road conditions."
Vehicle axle load limits will be imposed to prevent damage and unnecessary wear and tear.
Slow moving vehicles like auto-rickshaws hold up other traffic on Sri Lanka's existing highways which are too narrow.
"The southern highway will be a toll road, we will use an electronic tolling system and we're going to use cameras for speed control," Pemasiri also said.
The southern expressway will be extended from Matara, a southern town which was the original end of the road, to Hambantota, further south where a new airport and port are being built to provide connectivity, Pemasiri said.
• Sri Lanka Southern Expressway Nears Completion. Links Colombo to Matara