The Asian Development Bank has approved a $500m loan to Sri Lanka for the construction of the first phase of an expressway between Kandy and Colombo.

The 98.9km four-lane expressway, to be implemented in two stages, will have the provision to accommodate two more lanes in the future.

The first stage will involve the construction of a 48.2km stretch of four-lane elevated expressway and the second stage will involve the construction of a further 50.7km.

The project will be built on elevated concrete wire ducts to reduce land acquisition and to check the effects of natural hazards.

The non-toll road is expected to be open within four years and will reduce the travel time between Kandy and Colombo to 50 minutes.

The project was earlier allotted to a Malaysian Firm but has now been assigned to the state highway department, according to