Revving up roads

Friday, 7 November 2014 00:12 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • ADB, Govt., sign deal for $ 100 m first tranche of $ 800 m overall program to upgrade rural and national roads in six provinces
  • Government investment commitment totals $ 106 m
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Sri Lanka have signed the first tranche loan agreement of a $ 800 million multi-tranche financing facility to upgrade roads. “Providing all-weather road access to towns and villages in rural areas will bring greater development that will underpin stronger economic growth in Sri Lanka in the coming years and decades,” said Sri Widowati, ADB’s Country Director in Sri Lanka. Widowati signed the loan on behalf of the ADB while Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance and Planning, signed for the Government. The Integrated Road Investment Program, or so-called ‘iRoad’ in Sri Lanka, will upgrade about 2,200 kilometres of rural access roads, and rehabilitate and maintain about 400 kilometres of national roads under five projects in the Southern, Sabaragamuwa, Central and North Central provinces, and the Kalutara District of the Western Province. The $100 million first tranche of the iRoad program is largely earmarked for road improvements in the Southern province, helping provide 1.2 million people with swifter and safer travel. In a separate statement, the Finance Ministry said the Government’s investment to implement this program is $ 106 million whilst the component in the first tranche is $ 18 million. The overall program will design, improve and maintain around 3,106 kilometres of rural access roads, including provincial and local authority roads and about 260 kilometres of national roads. The first tranche will finance the first slice of the project in Southern Province in order to improve 560 kilometres of rural access roads and 130 kilometres of national roads, build capacity of implementing agencies in Southern Province and prepare for subsequent tranches. “The rural access roads will be improved to all weather standards and be maintained for three years under the program. Selected national road corridors will be improved and maintained for seven years while short isolated sections will be maintained for three years after improvement,” Finance Ministry said. In addition, the program will improve the capacity of the road development agencies including the Ministry of Highways, Ports and Shipping, Road Development Authority (RDA), provincial road agencies and local authorities on road asset management, project management and contract implementation. The Ministry of Highways, Ports and Shipping will be the executing agency for the project apart from being responsible for program specific monitoring and reporting. The implementing agency will be the RDA. The overall project is scheduled to be completed by 30 March 2024. 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, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2013, ADB assistance totalled $21.0 billion, including co-financing of $6.6 billion.