It was earlier estimated to cost double the present cost.

The government has been able to cut down the entire cost by 50 percent and construction work has been entrusted to China Metrogical Company.

The construction of the first stage of the Central Expressway commencing at Puwakwatiya- Kadawatha was flagged off by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday.

The total length of the Expressway is 178 kms and will cost Rs. 5.4 billion. This is one of the five fold development programmes the UNP envisages to complete within 60 months, in creating a new Sri Lanka.

The work schedule is as follows: The first stage covering 37 km on the Kadawatha Mirigama road will be from Kadawatha to Kosinna and Kosinna to Meerigama. From Mirigama to Kurunegla 39.7 km.

From Mirigama to Ambepussa 9.3 km. Potuhera to Galagedara 32.5 km and Kurunegala to Ridigama 12.5 km, from Ridigama to Melsiripura 18.9 km, from Melsiripura to Galewela 16.2 km and Galewela to Dambulla 12.7 km.

Through the construction of the expressway it is expected to reduce the congestion experienced on the Colombo-Kandy and Ambepussa- Kurunegala and Trincomalee roads. Steps would also be taken to acquire land within 39 weeks and not 72 weeks.

Compensation will be provided to all whose lands are acquired.