ADB credit to Nepal to improve strategic roads

KATHMANDU, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday approved 186.80 million U.S. dollar in loan to Nepal for upgrading 160 km of Nepal's strategic road network and to improve the country's domestic and regional transport connectivity, the lender said.

The loan will be used to upgrade a 115 km section of the over 1000 km strategic East-West highway - the main arterial road cutting across the entire width of the country in the southern Terai area - and a 45 km key feeder road.

Lee Ming Tai, senior transport specialist at ADB's South Asia Regional Department, said "these road improvements will help 673,000 people in the Terai area have better access to schools, hospitals, jobs, as well as local and international markets."

Roads carry about 90 percent of overall passenger and goods in the country. But the land-locked nation also has the lowest road density among South Asian countries with only 14 km of road per 100 square km and 0.90 km per 1,000 people, according to ADB.

This poor connectivity increases transport costs, limits people's access to jobs and social services, impedes trade with neighboring countries, and undermines the development of competitive industries in Nepal, including high-value agriculture, agro-processing and manufacturing, the bank said in a press statement.

Under the road improvement initiative, measures will also be taken to incorporate flood control and drainage designs in anticipation of more frequent and intense rainfalls in the area as a result of climate change.

The bank said the roads to be improved with ADB loan are located in Nepal's tropical climate zone which experiences heavy rainfall from June to September.

[ Editor: meng ]
 

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