December 1, 2016 08:21 PM NPT
KATHMANDU, Dec 2: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $186.80 million loan for starting a project to improve the country's domestic and regional transport connectivity.
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-kilometer Narayanghat-Butwal road and the Bhairahawa-Taulihawa (45 km) feeder road.
"This project will help in improving transport connectivity within and outside the country," Lee Ming Tai, Senior Transport Specialist at the ADB's South Asia Regional Department, said.
The transport connectivity will decreases transport costs, increases people's access to jobs and social services, boosts trades with neighboring countries, and assists the development of competitive industries in Nepal including high-value agriculture, agro-processing and maintenance, ADB said in a statement.
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." he said.
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 ADB will provide separate technical assistance to the Department of Roads, the project's implementing agency, for modernizing road assessment management and supporting the implementation of performance-based maintenance contract.
The total cost of the project is $256.50 million. The government is investing $69.70 million in the project.
The project is expected to complete in early 2022.