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Transport

New Roads and Improved Infrastructure for Afghanistan

  • Project Name: Qaisar–Dari Bum Road Project
  • Region/Country: Central and West Asia/Afghanistan
  • Sector and Themes: Transport
  • Year: 2017
  • Project Leaders: Ganesh Kailasam and Witoon Tawisook
New Roads and Improved Infrastructure for Afghanistan
The project will help promote economic and social development and reduce poverty by rehabilitating the primary road network damaged during 2 decades of conflict and neglect.

The road works should be good for our small community. I may even set up a small family business, start a dairy farm, or raise chickens.

—Mahane, resident, Tagab Ismael

Development challenge

Rugged terrain, a sparse network of poorly maintained roads, harsh winters, and the impact of armed conflict have left Afghanistan’s thinly spread population and widely dispersed communities isolated from each other. Underdeveloped, worn-out, and barely passable roads have kept the sick from hospitals, children from schools, and crops from markets. The demanding geography, security issues, and associated high costs have long frustrated efforts to fully develop Afghanistan’s roads.

Solution

This project in the northwest region, financed by a $330 million ADF grant approved in 2017, will provide the last missing link to complete the rehabilitation of Afghanistan’s major circular highway, the 90-kilometer Ring Road. It will also fund the installation of road tolling facilities including toll plazas, computers, and communications equipment, and weighing machines for the road. The project includes drainage and modern highway safety features, as well as roadside infrastructure facilities, including rural access roads, and a community development program for 60 local communities. The road will be designed and constructed to incorporate disaster risk and climate change adaptation features, which are critical for the country to increase the resiliency of its infrastructure. The long-awaited improvements will make overland travel and trade between Afghanistan and neighboring Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan easier and more efficient.

Provisioning infrastructure in a fragile environment
The project will integrate lessons learned in provisioning infrastructure in a fragile environment.

Knowledge products and services delivered

Besides rehabilitation of the Qaisar–Bala Murghab section of the Herat–Andkhoy road, the project also provides for knowledge services including construction supervision and monitoring support, and incremental project management such as engagement of external auditors to audit project accounts. It also includes HIV prevention and anti-human trafficking awareness activities.

Impact and results

Road improvements are expected to provide better access to markets, schools, and health services, and more job opportunities in the roadside communities. Vehicle operating costs on the project roads are projected to drop by 30%. By 2023, with the provision of the Ring Road’s missing link, the number of provincial capitals and major towns connected to the regional highway network is set to increase by 15% from 2017. The project has the support of local communities, which can enjoy direct and immediate benefits. Overall, the project and the Ring Road improvements will integrate the country’s northwest with the rest of Afghanistan. That will stimulate economic growth and further infrastructure development. The Ring Road improvement is expected to open Afghanistan not only to its closest neighbors but, through them, to the wider world and opportunities beyond.

The road incorporates disaster risk and climate change adaptation features.

Lessons for Replication

Installation of road tolling facilities including toll plazas, computers, and communications equipment, as well as weighing machines for roads should be done in an efficient manner. The roads should be designed and constructed to incorporate disaster risk and climate change adaptation features, especially in disaster-prone areas.

Improvement of disaster risk reduction
Improvement of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation capacity in the road subsector is under preparation

This project and the Ring Road improvements overall will integrate the country’s northwest with the rest of Afghanistan. That will stimulate economic growth and further infrastructure development.

—Sharifullah Sherzamam, Manager, Qaisar–Laman project component

The Ring Road Project has impacted the community as a whole. Completion of the project will influence positive change mainly on the environment, economy, and social life of the communities.

—Samuellah Tabesh, Project manager, Ministry of Public Works
Hashtags:
#Afghanistan #Transport #Roads #Infrastructure #EconomicGrowth
Find out more: https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/535676/together-we-deliver-2019.pdf https://www.adb.org/projects/37075-023/main
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