Sri Lanka has been keen to link up the international airport to the main city since 1960s. China, in 2006, offered to fund Colombo-Katunayake expressway and signed agreement with the government of Sri Lankan in 2008. After one year of loan process, in 2009, the construction of 25.6km road at an estimated cost of USD 292 million began. As per China’s conditions, Sri Lankan government, at that time, agreed on 15% of project financing through local funding. Both countries signed four separate buyer’s credit loan (BCL) agreements for the construction of 25.8 kilometer 4 lane expressway. The expressway was opened for public use in October 2013 that facilitated travel between Colombo and Katunayake making it within 15 minutes. It is noted that satisfactory land compensations were provided to people affected by the project.
Although the expressway has accelerated economic growth, it has adverse socio-environmental impacts such as pollution and environmental degradation. Moreover, the accident ratio on the expressway is high as 704 total accident cases were reported during 2013-2019.