ADB approves $197mln loan for highways’ rehabilitation in Pakistan’s province935 views
KARACHI, Pakistan: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday approved $197 million worth of loan to revamp highways in the Sindh province and help the provincial authorities formulate a master plan in order to meet the existing and future road traffic needs, the bank said in a statement.
The statement said the loan has been sanctioned to rehabilitate 328-kilometre highways across the province and develop road traffic plans.
It added that the provincial government will chip in $30 million as a counterpart support to the project.
“Sindh’s provincial highways, which handle up to 8,000 vehicles per day, are in urgent need of an upgrade,” said Jiangbo Ning, Senior Transport Specialist in ADB’s Central and West Asia Regional Department.
“The funds will support efforts to deliver reliable, all-weather roads as well as improved road planning, safety and maintenance.”
Sindh is the second biggest province in Pakistan with a population of 42 million. The province accounts for 33 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
“However, economic development is skewed…Rural areas are poorly connected to the regional centers, and the road conditions of about half of the 2,830 km of provincial highways are substandard due to damage from heavy truck traffic and seasonal flooding,” the statement said. “To improve the road condition the project will reconstruct, upgrade and widen key sections of the provincial highway network.”
The statement said the project will also help the provincial government develop a master plan to identify strengths and weaknesses, investment priorities, and opportunities for private sector investment in Sindh’s provincial road network over the next decade.
“The master plan will boost budget allocations to improve road safety and maintenance, and provide training for over 1,800 staff members of the provincial Works and Services Department,” it said.
The Manila-based ADB said the project is expected to be completed by the end of December 2019.
Exclusive by Tariq Ahmed Saeedi