Colombo – Katunayake Expressway E03 is Sri Lanka’s second E Class highway. The 25.8 km long highway links the Sri Lankan capital Colombo with Bandaranaika International Airport and Negombo.
Construction on the highway began in October 2009, and it was opened to the public on 27 October 2013. The highway has three lanes each way from Colombo to Peliyagoda, and two lanes each way from Peliyagoda to Katunayake, with the width ranging from 26 to 33.5 metres (85 to 110 ft). And also it includes 42 bridges and 100 culverts along the route.
The new expressway facilitates easier services for the increasing traffic and thus helps to reduce traffic congestion. It has also cut travel times between Colombo and Katunayake by 20 minutes which is a huge benefit for the Airport Travelers.
The E03 expressway links the capital Colombo with one of the major commercial hubs in the country and the major tourist destination, Negombo, within 20 minutes. Sri Lanka Tranport Board (SLTB) has also commenced a luxury bus service on the road, conducting services between Colombo – Negombo.
- New Kalani Bridge Interchange
- Peliyagoda Interchange
- Kerawalapitiya Interchange (under-construction) (connect with E02 Colombo Outer Circular Expressway)
- Ja-Ela Interchange
- Katunayake Interchange
Project values was around $292m and it was financed through a $248.2m loan provided by the Export-Import (Exim) Bank of China under the supervision of Government of China. The remaining $45m was provided by the Sri Lankan Government. The contract was awarded to China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) by the Government of Sri Lanka and the agreement was signed on 17 August 2008 and after granting the loan the construction commenced on 18 August 2009.
The expressway is designed to allow a speed limit of 80kmph to 100kmph. The portion between New Kelani Bridge entrance (entry point from the City of Colombo) and Peliyagoda interchange is toll-free. Only the portion beyond Peliyagoda is operating as a toll road. Toll is to be paid at the Negombo toll-plaza when travelling direct from Peliyagoda, or when exiting at any toll-station mid-way.
Since the Colombo – Katunayake stretch along areas with important environmental aspects (Negombo Lagoon and etc. ) it was constructed considering all the environmental and health standards.
In near future, Colombo – Katunayake Expressway will be connected with Outer Circular Highway (OCH) via the Kerawalapitiya Interchange which will allow travelers to join Southern Expressway bypassing Colombo and other heavy traffic conjunction areas.