Katunayake Expressway Is Open (Photos).

It’s a bit strange that Sri Lankans queue up to visit a highway as if it’s a new national monument, but in a way it is. Built largely by China in time for the Commonwealth Heads Of Government meeting, this expressway is long overdue. Travelling to the airport, before this, has involved navigating the treacherous, congested and highly populated Negombo Road. This could take anywhere from 45 minutes at night to hours during rush hour. Now the driving itself takes less than 15 minutes.

The only issue is that the expressway starts in Peliyagoda, at the edge of Colombo North, which is itself at least half an hour from Colombo South. The whole system won’t really make sense until the Outer Circular Expressway

gives some more entry points.

Highway Contact Information

Traffic Operation Center (Seeduwa),
EOM&M Division,
Road Development Authority,
Colombo Katunayake Expressway

Telephone: (+94) 77 9128923
Fax: (+94) 11 2253278
E-mail: mohomedrasool89@gmail.com

But anyways, here’s our review of… a road.

The Entrance

The Katunayake Expressway is different in that you don’t get a ticket entering it from the airport or Colombo, you only pay (and queue) upon exit. You do get a ticket from Ja-Ela, but besides that there’s no gate, you just turn and drive onto the highway. We entered from the Negombo Road. You can get on/off right in front of the airport as well, that’s where the highway absolutely ends. Entering at about 7 PM we saw a kilometre long line of cars queueing to pay the Rs. 300 toll and laughed at them, thinking we were very smart to be going the other way. We weren’t, there was traffic at both ends.

The Road

What to say, it’s a really nice road. The lanes are wider than the sometimes claustrophobic Southern Expressway and there is also more room along the sides if you ever need to pull over. In some parts there are even solar powered emergency phones. The speed limit is 80 km at the entries and 100 km throughout. From just the first day, there was more traffic than the Southern Expressway ever has, but a lot of that was road tourists like us. On an average day, however, we think this routes will still be more popular.

The main thing about the road is that it’s really short. We drove at night and didn’t see much, but you can presumably get a good sunset view there. There’d only be a 15 minute window thought, the ride is over that fast.

The Exits

As you leave you pay the toll, Rs. 300 for cars. They have about 6 tollbooths at the Colombo end (our guess, didn’t count), which should be good enough for the three lanes (it’s two lanes on the main highways, three as it ends). There are exits at Ja-Ela, Peliyagoda and the New Kelani Bridge (Colombo limits). As mentioned, Ja-Ela is the only place with an entry gate, otherwise you just get on and cruise.

We had to wait 15 minutes, about the length of the drive, and there were about seven staff in the tollbooth, not speeding things up. We assume this will get more efficient.


That’s about all there is to it. It’s a great, short, fast road. At Rs. 1.8 billion per kilometre (45.7 billion total) it’s a very expensive road on a Chinese loan, but it’s certainly makes life a lot easier. Now the airport and Negombo are much closer than they were before, and the expressway is an attraction in and of itself.

They’ve started ‘luxury’ bus service along the expressway as of today.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp




Satisfy your Kottu cravings at KottuLabs

Located in Nawala down a little lane, Kottulabs is home to the widest and most

Highlights Kamu

A flavorful journey to the North East by Paadum Meen

An ecstatically beautiful place located down Frankfort place, Bambalapitiya has caught a significant eye for

Highlights Kamu

Hummus Festival 2022 – Graze Kitchen by Hilton

By Shamrina Carim The stunning atmosphere Walking into this masterpiece designed by an excellent interior


A Luxury European Dining experience at 1864 Limited Edition

Ambience Intimate dining area for couples and friends Comfy lounge areas to sit and catch

Highlights Kamu

Pizza Hut – My Box Birizza Fever- review

By Sumaiya Jaleel Hurrah! Welcome back to your scrumptious feast. Pizza Hut has brought back

Highlights Kamu

The Hottest Food Fest of the Year: Eat Street Colombo

By Janani Vithanage After a 2 year (Covid induced break), Sri Lanka’s biggest, best food

Highlights Kamu


‘Encounters’: The Second Exhibition by the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka

-  A walk through history that gives you a feel of déjà vu, especially when


Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo’s ColomBar moves to newly refurbished location

04 May2022, Colombo: Colombo’s iconic and stylish destination bar, ColomBar, has been re-located to its


Spreading Mother’s Day Love with Ramada Colombo

Treat your Mother to lavish lunch, and high tea buffets, sweet treats, and plush stays. 


Eid Staycation at Sheraton Kosgoda TurtleBeach Resort

By Janani Vithanage Heralded by the first sighting of the crescent moon, Eid-al-fitr, which translates


Eid Staycation at Weligama Bay Marriott Resort & Spa

By Janani Vithanage Heralded by the first sighting of the crescent moon, Eid-al-fitr, which translates


Order your Ifthar Dinner via PickMe Food

By Hiruni Herath As Ramadan is a time of introspection and prayer, you can devote


Yamu Guide.

The Embazzy – a relaxing luncheon spot

By Hiruni Herath Service and Ambience Stepping into The Embazzy, it’s clear that the restaurant

Highlights Yamu Guide

What to expect at a Yala National Park Safari

Covering an extensive area of Southern and Uva Provinces, Yala is the second largest national

Yamu Guide

Everything you need at Online Kade

Located in the heart of Rajagiriya Online Kade also has a branch in Colombo 04

Yamu Guide

5 Co-working spaces in Colombo

By Tashia Ranasinghe Here are some more interesting places for all the digital nomads out

Highlights Yamu Guide

7 Buffets to Indulge In this Easter 2022

By Janani Vithanage As the youth of our nation make their voices heard, the birth

Yamu Guide

5 occasions to celebrate with Shirohana

By Rahma Rifkhar Okay, so, first question: Are you the colour-coordinated bullet journaling typa person

Highlights Yamu Guide