The country lags behind its neighbors, writes Peter Samuel, because it has been stuck in a lengthy civil war. Aid organizations helped finance the 60-mile long Southern Expressway, and toll collection is designed to help the nation pay back the loans:
"Five to ten miles inland of the coast the new 'Southern Expressway" parallels an old mostly 2 lane road forming the main street of many coastal towns and villages. The interchanges of the new highway are designed to be magnets for new development - residential and commercial - as well as catering to traffic not needing to be on the coastal 2-laner.
Extensions are planned from Galle to the east, including to a new international airport. The next 30km, 18 mile is due for opening by end-2013."