WB, ADB commit Rs 11b to construct strategic roads, bridges
KATHMANDU, July 10: The World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are supporting a total of US$ 125 million (about Rs 11.12 billion) to construct and maintain strategic roads and bridges under two major programs to be implemented from the coming fiscal year.
The WB Board has already approved loan assistance worth $60 million (about Rs 5.34 billion) under the Bridge Improvement and Maintenance Program. The amount will be used for maintenance, renovation and construction of bridges along the strategic roads.
The finance ministry will sign final agreement with WB officials once the cabinet approves the proposed agreement.
"We are hopeful that the final agreement will be signed by the end of August,” Ramesh Raj Bista, joint-secretary of the Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management, said.
Once the agreement is signed, the WB will disburse the committed amount as reimbursement in different installments over the five-year program period on the basis of progress made in construction of bridges.
“The committed amount will cover 60 percent of the total cost required for maintenance, renovation and construction of bridges along the strategically important national level roads," Bista told Republica.
The government has estimated that it will need $100 million for the maintenance and renovation of 1400 existing bridges, including 400 bridges along the strategic national roads, and construction of 300 new bridges.
Likewise, the ADB has agreed in principle to provide $65 million (about Rs 5.78 billion) to Nepal for the construction and improvement of a total of 177 km stretches of five strategic roads. The assistance includes $49 million in grant and the remaining $16 million in credit.
According to Bista, the ADB assistance will be used to construct and renovate strategically important Leguwaghat- Bhojpur (65 km), Halesi-Diktel (38 km), Koshi-Bridge -Birtamod (16 km), Koshi Bridge-East-west Highway- Koshi-Bridge (54 km) and Manthali- Ramechhap (14 km) roads.
“These roads will be upgraded into two-lane structure and blacktopped in the five-year program period that starts from the coming fiscal year,” said Bista.
The Department of Roads (DoR) has estimated total cost of the project at $100 million. Bista said the remaining $35 million will be arranged by the government.
“Our consultant firm has almost completed the project preparation report. We expect the ADB Board to approve the assistance by January next year,” added Bista.
The government has allocated Rs 2 billion for under-construction bridges and Rs 600 million for the maintenance of damaged bridges in the current fiscal year.