IDB approves Bahamas road loan

By Richard High23 May 2008

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is to provide a US$ 100 million loan to The Bahamas to support measures designed to improve road transport links on the island of New Providence.

New Providence, home to 69% The Bahamas population and its capital city, Nassau, has 1600 km of roads. The majority are paved and in an "adequate condition", but the network's capacity is insufficient for its growing volume of traffic.

The 25-year IDB loan will assist the Ministry of Public Works and Transport in completing the New Providence Transport Program, which has an estimated total cost of US$ 162 million.

The cost of the program has escalated in recent years due to the high demand for construction services, equipment, materials and labour in The Bahamas. Conditions that were exacerbated by disruptions, such as the hurricanes of 2005.

The New Providence Transport Program will see the construction of 15 km of new roads and the improvement of 23 km of existing roads, mostly by widening. Part of the work has already been completed thanks to an earlier loan.

The new loan also supports the institutional strengthening of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. It will finance key studies on traffic management for downtown Nassau and routine road maintenance in New Providence, among other priority issues for the program.

The new loan has a four-year grace period and an adjustable interest rate.

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