15 Nov 19 - Source: Myanmar Times - The Asia Development Bank (ADB) will provide US$51.2 million to upgrade rural roads in Myanmar to become all-weather and climate-resilient, the bank said in a statement released on Tuesday.
The bank said in its statement that the funds would be used for 152 kilometres of roads that will benefit villages in Ayeyarwady and Magwe regions.
The funding consists of a US$45.4 million loan and a US$5.8 million grant. That project will enable the people in project area and its surroundings to use all-weather roads that will cut down travelling time by car at least 18 minutes along the route.
To increase disaster resilience, the project will raise road surfaces to avoid frequent flooding, and the surfacing will be constructed with durable materials such as concrete.
"The project will provide rural residents in four townships of Ayeyarwady and Magwe with reliable, climate-proof roads, so they can better access markets and job opportunities," said ADB Senior Transport Specialist for Southeast Asia Mr Shihiru Date.
It will also help Myanmar address the challenges of climate change, which can cause severe damage to deteriorating rural roads, he added.
Myanmar has one of the lowest rates of rural road access in Asia, with more than 40 percent of the country's rural population having no access to all-season roads, according to the Rural Access Index database. ADB studies revealed that over four million people in Myanmar are not connected by road, and 10 million more are connected by roads that are not passable during the rainy season. Only about 6pc of the country's 95,000km rural road network is considered paved, while 28pc has a gravel or stone surfaces, which are typically in poor condition.
The new project seeks to improve the capacity of the Department of Rural Road Development to operate and maintain the country's rural road networks.
The total cost of the project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2025, is US$52.41 million, with the government of Myanmar contributing US$1.21 million.