The ribbon cutting ceremony took place on Feb 23 for the Sri Lanka highway project, which was built by Sinohydro Bureau 14 Co, a subsidiary of POWERCHINA.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Cheng Xueyuan, Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka, attended the event.

Sri Lanka highway project opens to traffic

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and other dignitaries attend the ribbon cutting ceremony. [Photo/POWERCHINA]

Officials said it is a key project jointly being constructed by China and Sri Lanka in the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

They said its completion will achieve the first highway connection between four major cities in Sri Lanka -- Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital, the famous tourist city of Galle, as well as Hambantota and Matara.

It will also link Hambantota Port, Colombo Port, Mattala Rajapaksa Hambantota Airport and Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport.

The second and third stretch of the project is located in the Southern province of Sri Lanka, about 30 kilometers from the city of Matara, the starting point of the highway project, and about 25 km from the final destination city of Hambentota.

The total length of the highway project is 41 km. The second stretch started construction on Oct 28, 2016, while the third stretch started construction on Jan 25, 2016. It obtained its delivery certificate on Aug 7, 2019.

Sri Lanka highway project opens to traffic

Local residents witness the ribbon cutting ceremony. [Photo/POWERCHINA]

The owner of the highway project is the Sri Lanka Road Development Authority. Officials said it is the first highway project to be constructed in accordance with the requirements of Sri Lanka's overall urban development strategy.

Officials said that after opening to traffic, it will significantly increase transportation capacity in the southern economic belt of Sri Lanka.

It will also further improve the investment environment in the south, while providing huge employment opportunities for the local area.