ADB finance to help Dhaka-Northwest road communications efficient

Published : 22 Nov 2017, 17:49

Sahos Desk

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Bangladesh on Wednesday signed agreements for $300 million in loans to help upgrade the Dhaka-Northwest international trade corridor in Bangladesh.

Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam and Manmohan Parkash, Country Director, ADB, signed the loan agreements on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB, respectively, at a ceremony at the ERD in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.

The assistance forms the first tranche of $1.2 billion multi-tranche ADB loans for the Second SASEC Northwest Corridor Road Project.

“This project will help boost trade along the second busiest road artery in the country, and further strengthen regional connectivity,” said Country Director Manmohan Parkash. 

“This will also help bring down transport costs, make the sector more competitive, and make transportation between Dhaka and north-western Bangladesh more efficient” he added. 

ADB has been supporting the government in improving the Dhaka-Northwest road corridor since approval of the landmark Jamuna Bridge Project in 1994. 

The first SASEC Northwest Corridor Road Project was approved in 2012 to improve 70-kilometer Joydeypur-Elenga section of the road. It also improved operational efficiency of Burimari and Benapole land ports that provide gateways to Bhutan and India, respectively.

The second project continues ADB’s support to the corridor by improving the 190-km section from Elenga through Hatikumrul to Rangpur. Road operation and management in the Roads and Highway Department will also be strengthened. 

There will be further work on issues such as road safety and gender responsive features to make the highway user friendly to women.  Studies have shown that women particularly use the route on foot or slow-moving vehicles such as rickshaws, so the project will include footbridges, footpaths, and dedicated lanes for slow moving traffic to make their travel safer. 

Transport infrastructure is the centerpiece of the ADB-supported South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program, which promotes regional prosperity. 

Since 2001, SASEC members have invested more than $9.17 billion in projects with a regional dimension, including 31 transport projects worth $7.3 billion. Road travel accounts for 70 percent of all passenger traffic and 60 percent of freight in Bangladesh, where traffic has been growing at a rate of 8 percent a year.

Accompanying the assistance package is an ADB technical assistance (TA) grant of $2 million to support the government in updating its Road Master Plan, and enhancing planning and monitoring activities associated with roads. The TA is to be carried out from January 2018 to December 2023.

Source: unb

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