The FINANCIAL — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of over $197 million to rehabilitate 328 kilometers (km) of provincial highways and assist authorities in developing a master plan to better manage current and future road traffic in Sindh.
“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.”
Home to 42 million people, Sindh is Pakistan’s second largest province and generates a third of national GDP. However, economic development is skewed in favor of the provincial capital Karachi, the country’s largest city and responsible for three-quarters of overall trade activity. 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. To improve the road condition the project will reconstruct, upgrade and widen key sections of the provincial highway network, according to ADB.
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.
ADB’s loan will be complemented by $30 million in counterpart support from the provincial government. The project’s expected completion date is December 2019.
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 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.