ADB sanctions $180 million to improve Nepal's major highway

Kathmandu
7 Oct 2018

The Asian Development Bank has sanctioned a soft loan of USD 180 million for the upgrading Nepal's 1,000 km-long East-West Highway, the main domestic and international trade route in country's Southern plain bordering India.
Landlocked Nepal's road network, which includes eight north-south and three east-west corridors, carries more than 90 per cent of the passengers and goods in the country.
The project will improve and rehabilitate about 87 kms between Kanchanpur and Kamala on the East-West Highway, and will upgrade the highway section to a four-lane dual carriageway to cater to the projected increase of traffic demand, including a new road surface and drainage, the ADB said in a statement here.
"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," said ADB staff Johan Georget, who looks after the transport sector.
The project road carries an average of 8,600 vehicles daily, with more than a quarter of them heavy vehicles, according to an estimate. The average is expected to grow to 25,400 vehicles per day by 2033. According to the ADB, improvement of the road will boost the efficiency of Nepal's transport system.
"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," he said.
The project will also finance civil works and equipment packages to improve road safety along the entire 1,027 km of the East West Highway, and support road safety campaigns.
The construction is expected to start in the first quarter of 2019 and will be completed in 2022.  The total project cost stands at $ 256.4 million, of which the government will provide $ 76.4 million. The loan will also finance preparation of detailed designs for future road projects along the corridor.
The ADB will also provide technical assistance grant of $ 750,000 to help prepare a national road safety policy and action plan, strengthen the road safety council, carry out a road safety assessment of the corridor, and promote gender equality measures in the transport sector. PTI