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TIN news:  China Merchants Group has secured a contract to construct $1bn expressway in Sri Lanka. Work on the new northern expressway is expected to begin this year.
Considered to be the largest highway scheme by the Sri Lankan government to date, the new project will connect the former war torn north region through the tourist area of Kandy to Colombo.
The first phase will involve building of five interchanges, 50 overpasses and 30 underpasses. The completed highway is expected to be nearly 300km long.
"We are currently discussing details of tax holidays and land allocation."
Sri Lanka Highways Ministry Secretary Ranjith Premasiri said: "The feasibility study has been completed and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed with the company.
"We are currently discussing details of tax holidays and land allocation."
Construction work on the initial phase of over 48km-long stretch may begin in August, and will be executed under the build, own transfer (BOT) model.
The project was previously reported to be financed by China Development Bank. This project is one of the several infrastructure project being funded or carried out by the Chinese firms.
Sri Lanka is set to officially open a 30.81km-long extension to the Southern Expressway in mid-March, which was also financed by China EXIM Bank.
The construction of third phase of this expressway to be awarded to China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC).

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