Hebei Roads Development Project in the People's Republic of China (Loan 1617-PRC)

Evaluation Document | 30 November 2006

Evaluates the performance of the Hebei Roads Development Project designed for efficient movement of freight and passengers from the provincial boundaries of Hebei Province and Shandong Province in the People's Republic of China.

The Project, the second ADB loan for an expressway project in Hebei Province, directly supported five of seven ADB strategic priorities in the road sector from 1997-2003. The 141 km dual four-lane expressway was fully consistent with government priorities in upgrading and expanding the National Trunk Highway System (Beijing-Tianjin-Shanghai economic growth corridor), including more efficient north-south movement from the boundaries of Hebei Province with Tianjin municipality and Shandong Province. The local road component to complement the expressway improved access to officially designated poverty counties and villages by linking poor agricultural areas to highway development and growth centers.

The expressway served as a catalyst for expanded economic transformation and social development in 11 Hebei counties, 7 of which are national poverty counties. The county connector and village roads generated local structural changes in 9 counties, including 7 poverty counties. The Project is rated highly relevant, highly effective, highly efficient, and its operations are likely to be sustainable. Overall, it is rated highly successful.

Summary of findings

  • Both the expressway and connector/local roads outcomes have been achieved along with establishing the process for institutional capacity building in corporatization and operation of the expressway agency.

  • Expressway benefits go beyond their location. Apart from positive resettlement impacts, direct impacts on the poor maybe limited with the predominance of inter-city traffic and preference of local traffic for cheaper alternate route. On the other hand, indirect impacts were significant. Beyond the convention of traffic volumes, reduced travel times and costs in project areas, the expressway contributed to the National Trunk Highway System and national economic growth. Improved connectivity to other regions with dynamic growth helped road influence areas to benefit from continued growth in the PRC (in terms of outside employment, trade and commerce). In respect to local roads, poverty reduction impacts depended on local realities including remoteness of location, resoruce endowment and links to growth centers.

  • "Before" and "after" conditions in select influence areas reveal increased per capita income growth, more diverse sector activities, and improved social services development.

  • The expressway is well maintained and ongoing improvements aimed at reducing overloading and improving traffic safety are being given priority. There was no reason to assume project would not last its full economic life. The county connector roads and village roads were also likely to be sustained.

  • Two relevant issues for the future are on vehicle overloading and road safety. The number of large trucks on the project expressway is increasing and overloading is significant. Meanwhile, to encourage safe driving and keep accidents at a low rate, there should be more public awareness campaigns and additional road signs along the county connector roads informing drivers of speed zones, dangerous curves, pedestrian crossing, etc. In addition, the local government should more effectively enforce road safety and related regulations.

Lessons

  • Local area connectivity, following integration of an expressway with nearby local road networks, will maximize expressway impacts by stimulating local economic transformations and social development.
  • Economic development due to improved transport connectivity can be further advanced by complementary investments and area development at the local level.
  • A high level of commitment and strong sense of ownership is needed to deepen the process of corporatization and commercialization of expressway organizations.
  • For poverty reduction components like the one under the Project, ADB needs to carefully identify and clearly specify an associated local road component during appraisal to enhance utilization of the allocated loan amount for such component.
  • The poverty component would have been be more effective if implemented on a stand-alone basis even as country policy limits the scope for such stand alone poverty reduction projects.
  • Project administration and attribution of village road impacts could be strengthened if selection also followed more contiguous routes.

Follow-up Actions for the Government

  • Ensure that fully operational weigh-in-motion detectors are in full service at all entry points to the expressway.
  • Povide storage and parking areas to offload overloaded vehicles.
  • Vehicles that do the most damage should pay fines commensurately.
  • Reinforce traffic safety, set up traffic lights at crossing with a heavy flow of pedestrians, and provide more signs on the country connector roads.

Contents 

  • Executive Summary
  • Map
  • Introduction
  • Design and Implementation
  • Performance Assessment
  • Other Assessments
  • Issues, Lessons, and Follow-up Actions
  • Appendixes