Additional financing for Nepal's rural roads network

By Richard High29 December 2009

The World Bank has approved an additional US$ 45 million to help improve Nepal's rural road network.

Active in 20 of Nepal's 75 districts since 2005, with the new financing the project will spread to another 10 districts. The additional funds will also help meet cost escalations that have occurred on account of the doubling of input prices since 2005.

For example, the cost of reinforcement bars and cement increased by an average of +130% between 2005 and 2007. Costs also increased following an upgrade in technical specification, including moving from gravel to low cost black-top roads.

Of the two project components, the Rural Transport Infrastructure component will rehabilitate and upgrade a further 550 km of existing dry-season rural roads to all-season standard and, in the remote hill districts, upgrade another 140 km of existing rural trails and tracks to dry-season standard.

When combined with the original grant, this will result in 1165 and 211 km of all season and dry season roads respectively.

It will also maintain about 4500 km of rural roads, construct 160 trail bridges and selected river crossings, as well as develop small community infrastructures.

The second component - Capacity Building and Advisory Services - will support institutional strengthening at the Department of Local Infrastructure and Agriculture Roads (DOLIDAR) and DDCs in the areas of road asset management and District Transport Master Plans.

It will also aid the Rural Transport Service Study and its policy recommendations and provide project implementation support.

The Rural Access Improvement and Decentralization Project (RAIDP) has been upgrading rural roads in 20 of Nepal's 75 districts since 2005, when the World Bank provided a US$ 32 million grant.

The Government of Nepal and participating District Development Committees (DDCs) have provided about US$ 10 million. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has also provided US$ 2.1 million for the Trail Bridges component of the project.

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