According to Colombo Page, Sri Lanka's first toll expressway has finally been opened for traffic by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The E-01 Southern Expressway has been controversial, as I wrote earlier this year with a full profile of the road.
The fears being that the road would create bottlenecks and induce fraud, with concerns exacerbated by the ongoing delays to its completion.
The toll for the whole length of the 126km road (from Colombo to Galle) is US$3.50, and the construction cost has been about US$650 million. The expressway is two lanes in each direction, but has been built to be a full service operation by the Sri Lanka Road Development Authority which owns the road. A dedicated Police unit (Special Task Force) will be employed for traffic management along the road, with monitoring of conditions, including breakdowns and accidents by CCTV. The Special Task Force will also have first aid medical capabilities to respond to accidents, while a dedicated fire brigade unit will also be on hand. There are plans for further extensions.
The toll is to be collected manually using a closed system, whereby a driver receives a ticket from the entry point on the expressway (at any interchange) and then pays according to distance travelled at an exit point.
All the best for all Sri Lankans using this new expressway, and also for those towns and villages that will now see through traffic removed from their roads, which is surely one of the major benefits of building such a major new route.