Southern Expressway, the best in South Asia – ADB Country Director

Minister Johnston Fernando having discussion with ADB Country Director, Dr. Chen Chen and officials.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) Country Director, Dr. Chen Chen has stated that the Southern Expressway is the best in the South Asian region.

He was speaking during the last week’s meeting between ADB Director General for South Asia Department Kenichi Yokoyama and Chief Government Whip Highways Minister Johnston Fernando at the Highways Ministry, the Ministry said.

During the meeting, Minister Fernando told the ADB top officials that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has a plan to build an interconnected network of expressways ensuring the road connectivity linking the North, East, South and Western Regions of the country. The President’s plan is to create a network of expressways enabling any person to travel to any distant place in a couple of hours.

The Minister also explained the progress that has been achieved by his Ministry under the incumbent government to the ADB Director General. They discussed the progress of rural road development projects, road safety, managing traffic congestions and the highway development projects to be started in the near future.

Dr. Chen Chen said that Sri Lanka’s Southern Expressway was the best in the entire South Asian region. He said that the I-Road project (Integrated Road Investment Programme) to improve the connectivity between rural communities and socioeconomic centres by improving the transport efficiency on selected national, provincial and local roads commenced when Mahinda Rajapaksa was the President on a request by incumbent Secretary to the President

Dr. P. B. Jayasundara has become a model road development project for many other developing nations. India and Bangladesh, too, have emulated the I-Road Project to develop infrastructure and roads in their countries.

Ministry sources said that the ADB officials have applauded the progress of the 100,000 km Road Development Project of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour Programme and planting one million saplings along the roads. The ADB officials further discussed with the Minister the progress of the Port Entrance Road being constructed under the ADB assistance.

ADB Director General for South Asia, Kenichi Yokoyama was pleased with the progress of road development projects and assured further assistance from the ADB to Sri Lanka, the Ministry said in a release.

Secretary to the Ministry, R. W. R. Pemasiri participated.