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Expressways in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka currently has over 150 kilometres (93 miles) of expressways. The Southern Expressway (Colombo–Matara Expressway) goes through Kottawa, Kalutara, Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Galle and extends to Mirissa and Matara. The length of the expressway is 126 km, the travel time from Kottawa, a Colombo suburb, to Matara, the southern end-point of Sri Lanka, on this road is only 1.5 hours. It usually takes over 5 hours to travel from Matara to Colombo, the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, because of traffic conjection. It is planned to extend the Southern Expressway from Matara to Hambantota to connect Mattala Airport and Hambantota Harbour to Colombo. The Transport Board and private luxury service busses are scheduled to run on the Southern Expressway hourly from 6a.m. to 9 p.m. The air-conditioned buses equipped with TV-sets and newspapers are very comfortable. The fast buses generally stop in large towns along the Southern highway, so all popular tourist destinations with beaches and water sports become readily accessible. 

The Colombo–Katunayake Expressway opened in 2013 connects New Kelani Bridge at Peliyagoda adjacent to Colombo with the Bandaranaike International Airport, the major international airport of Sri Lanka. The length of the expressway is 25.8 kilometres (16. miles); the travel time is about 20 minutes. Interchanges are located at Peliyagoda, Ja-Ela, Katunayake. Route 187 buses from to Colombo Fort to the Airport are scheduled to run every half an hour from 5:30am – 6:30pm along the expressway; a one-way journey costs Rs.130, higher in air-conditioned and luxury buses. The journey takes around 45 minutes, because the bus stops several times between the highway entrance in Peliyagoda and Colombo Fort. Many local Colombo-Airport buses continue travelling along Negombo Road (formerly Katunayake Road), where your journey of 57 km may take up to 3 hours.

The Outer Circular Expressway (OCH) of a total length 29.53 km passes through two districts, Colombo and Gampaha in the Colombo Metropolitan Region. The sections from Kottawa to Kaduwela (11.0 km), Kaduwela to Kadawatha (8.9 km, opened in 2015) and Kadawatha to Kerawelapitiya, a suburb (9.63 km) of Wattala, near Colombo are completed. The Outer Circular Expressway is connected with the Colombo - Matara Expressway at Kottawa, the Colombo - Katunayake Expressway at Kerawalapitiya and the proposed Colombo - Kandy Expressway at Kadawatha. The OCH is a 4-lane highway that will expend to 6-lanes in future. The journey from Kadawatha to the Bandaranaike International Airport is about 33.7 km long that takes around 37 minutes along the expressways, from Kadawatha to Galle 1.5 hours.

The Kadawatha Interchange is also expected to become the commencing point for the planned Central (or Northern) Expressway that goes to Kurunegala and further to Katugastota in Kandy. It is planned to extend the expressway to Dambulla, and from Dambulla to Jaffna. All expressways are toll roads with speeds limits in the range of 80–110 kilometres per hour (50–68 mph). The network is to be expanded to 350 kilometres (220 miles) by 2019.

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