Thursday, December 1, 2016

ADB approves $186.8 million to upgrade road

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $186.80 million loan for starting a project to improve domestic and regional transport connectivity including strategic road networks.
The new loan has been sanctioned to upgrade 160 kilometers (km) of Nepal's strategic road network (East-West Highway). The project will upgrade the sections of 115-km Narayanghat-Butwal road and the Bhairahawa-Taulihawa (45 km) feeder road.
The total cost of the project is $256.50 million, with the government contributing $69.70 million. The estimated completion date is early 2022.
"The project will help in improving transport connectivity within and outside the country," senior transport specialist at the ADB's South Asia Regional Department Lee Ming Tai said.
The transport connectivity will decreases transport costs, increases people's access to jobs and social services, boosts trades with neighbouring countries, and assists the development of competitive industries in Nepal including high-value agriculture, agro-processing and maintenance, the ADB said in a statement.
Roads carry about 90 percent of the overall passenger and goods traffic in Nepal. But the landlocked country also has the lowest road density in South Asia with only 14 km of road per 100 sq km and 0.90 km per 1,000 people.
This poor connectivity increases transport costs, limits people’s access to jobs and social services, impedes trade with neighbouring countries, and undermines the development of competitive industries in Nepal, including high-value agriculture, agro-processing and manufacturing.
According to Tai, these road improvements will increase access of 673,000 people in Tarai area to schools, hospitals, jobs as well as local and international markets.
The road improvements will also incorporate flood control and drainage designs in anticipation of more frequent and intense rainfalls in the area as a result of climate change. The project will contribute to the ADB’s commitment to increase climate finance by approximately $66.5 million. The project roads are located in Nepal’s tropical climate zone which experiences heavy rainfall from June to September.
Road safety is a key element of the project as road traffic accidents in the country continue to rise due to an increase in vehicle numbers and poor road conditions.
Considering the continue rise of road accidents in the country, the new road section will have service lanes to cut-off slow moving local traffic from fast moving through traffic, prosaic-friendly features like walkways on both sides of the roads in settlement areas, prosaic crossing and road accidents emergency response system at critical locations.
The project will include a five-year performance-based maintenance clause in the contracts with the view of tapping the private sector for maintenance contracts in the future. In this regard, the ADB is providing separate technical assistance to the Department of Roads, the project’s implementing agency, to modernise road asset management and support the implementation of performance-based maintenance contracts.
The ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, the ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region.
It is owned by 67 members, 48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totalled $27.2 billion, including co-financing of $10.7 billion.

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