KATHMANDU, Oct 5: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced to provide Nepal a loan of US$ 180 million to support improvement of East-West Highway.
Issuing a statement on Thursday, the Manila-headquartered international development financial institution said that its board of directors has approved a loan of $180 million to be utilized in road infrastructure project for improvement of the 1,027-kilometer highway -- the country's main domestic and international trading route.
According to the statement, the project will improve and rehabilitate about Kanchanpur-Kamala (87 kilometers) section of the highway as well as upgrade the two-lane road to a four-lane highway. Apart from the upgradation to four-lane, the loan is also expected to be utilized in financing civil works and equipment package to improve road safety along the entire highway.
Similarly, support for road safety campaigns and preparation of detailed designs for future road projects along the corridor are also parts of the financing support.
Along with the loan, the ADB will also be providing technical assistance grant of $750,000 to help prepare a national road safety policy and action plan, strengthen the road safety council, and carry out a road safety assessment of the corridor, among other works.
According to the statement, construction works are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2019 with the target to complete by 2022. The total project cost is $256.4 million, of which the government will cover the remaining $76.4 million, according to the ADB.
“The highway's road surface—Nepal's busiest route—is in fair to poor condition and does not segregate oncoming traffic or slow-moving vehicles and pedestrians,” the statement quoted the ADB Transport Specialist Johan Georget as saying. “Improving the road will boost the efficiency of Nepal's transport system, strengthen national and regional connectivity to promote growth and trade, and improve road safety.”