The fourth phase of the Central Expressway to be constructed by a Chinese company, the project to be completed in three and a half a years.

Rs. 161 b expressway: It’s China again
Another massive unsolicited project; loan coming from Exim Bank
By Damith Wickremasekara  
In another unsolicited proposal, a Chinese company has been awarded the contract for the construction of the fourth phase of the Central Expressway project.
Under the project, the Central Expressway between Kurunegala and Dambulla spanning 58.7 kilometres of four lanes is to be constructed at a cost of Rs. 161.61 billion, excluding Value Added Tax.
Cabinet approval for the project has been granted to obtain a loan from the Exim Bank of China with the project to be carried out by the China Gezhouba Group of Companies.   Sri Lanka will receive a six-year grace period for the repayment of the loan and it will have to be completed in 20 years.
Project Director T.S.H. Abewickrema told the Sunday Times the agreement would be signed next week and word would be started at a  ceremony presided over by President Maithripala Sirisena the following week.
She said the project would be completed in three and a half years and would be part of the ‘Rajarata Navodaya’ – the President’s programme for the development of the Polonnaruwa district.
Ms. Abeywickrema said the expressway would include five interchanges at Ridigama, Melsiripura, Galewela and two in Dambulla. There would be 21 bridges, 32 culverts, nine under passes and seven over passes.
PM going to Beijing to finalise FTA
Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will visit Beijing in May as discussions continue over the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Karunasena Kodituwakku said in Beijing yesterday.
He said the Prime minister would also attend a major summit scheduled to be attended by about 20 world leaders. Dr. Kodituwakku was speaking to reporters at a ceremony in Beijing to mark Sri Lanka’s 69th Independence Day.
Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrema yesterday confirmed the visit of Premier Wickremesinghe and said the talks on the proposed FTA were going well, but declined to give a time frame. “I don’t want to put more pressure on the negotiating team, but we are going ahead well.”