MANILA — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $295 million loan to widen and upgrade around 265 kilometers of state highways, improving transport connectivity and safety in the state of Bihar in India.
The highways will be upgraded with climate- and disaster-resilient design, road safety elements, and other features that will respond to the needs of the elderly, women, children, and people with disabilities.
“Improved connectivity and road safety is critical to areas that rely heavily on agriculture such as Bihar. Better infrastructure allows farmers to connect to markets and improve their incomes. These also promote employment outside farms and access to quality health and education facilities,” said ADB Senior Transport Specialist for South Asia Kai Wei Yeo. “The project will help uplift the lives of the people in Bihar, especially in project areas that are considered to be among the poorest in the country.”
The project will also encourage women’s participation by providing employment to female workers in construction works. Trainings in livelihood as well as awareness on road safety, health and hygiene, and abuse and harassment will be offered to women from communities in the project areas.
Initiatives to strengthen transport planning, safety, and sustainability within Bihar State Road Development Corporation Limited will be implemented. These include developing a road asset management system which includes climate change and disaster risk information, establishing research laboratories with training equipment in the Bihar Road Research Institute, conducting studies on congestion management and climate adaptation, and creating guidelines for gender-inclusive practices in road safety measures.
The government is contributing $156.6 million to the project.
Since 2008, ADB has provided five loans totaling $1.63 billion to the state of Bihar, which have upgraded about 1,696 kilometers of state highways and constructed a new bridge over the Ganga River.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.