The Asia Development Bank (ADB) announced earlier this month that will provide $51.2 million USD in grants and loans to the Myanmar government so that it can upgrade 152 kilometers of rural roads in the Ayeyarwady and Magwe regions to become all weather and climate-resilient.
The funding from the ADB will consist of a $5.8 million USD grant and $45.4 million USD in loans. That project will enable the people in the project regions to use all-weather roads that will cut down their travelling time and to be able to travel in a safer manner even when there are heavy rains and other inclement weather.
Shihiru Date, the Senior Transport Specialist for the ADB in Southeast Asia commented on the project and said , “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.
It will also help Myanmar address the challenges of climate change, which can cause severe damage to deteriorating rural roads and 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.
According to the Rural Access Index database, Myanmar has one of the lowest rates of rural road access in Asia, with more than 40% of the country’s rural population having no access to all-season roads.
ADB studies of Myanmar and its transportation network revealed that roads do not connect more than four million people in the country. Additionally, roads that are impassable during the rainy season affect another 10 million people.
The ADB also found that only 6% of the country’s 95,000km rural road network is considered paved, while 28% have 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 and is expected to be complete by the end of 2025.