ADB, Japan to Help Myanmar Assess Road Networks, Prioritize Repairs

ADB's assistance will help the Ministry of Construction undertake an inventory of roads and road assets, such as curbs, bridges, pavement, or drainage structures.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Government of Myanmar will take stock of road networks and their condition, prioritize road maintenance, and inventory other transport-related assets using a $1.3 million grant provided by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and administered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“Right now, Myanmar has about two kilometers of road for every 1,000 people, and much of this is in poor condition. Improving road links between rural areas, markets, and urban centers can open up opportunities that will have an immediate impact on people’s lives,” said Putu Kamayana, Head of the ADB’s Extended Mission in Myanmar.

The technical assistance (TA) will help the Ministry of Construction and its Public Works department undertake a comprehensive inventory of road assets, such as curbs, bridges, pavement, or drainage structures. It will also develop a mechanism to assess and prioritize road maintenance and look at ways to finance future repairs and maintenance works.

Investment in the transport sector since the 1990s has mainly come from government funds and tended to focus on major highways and railways, meaning little has been spent on the operation and maintenance of the existing transport network. Chronic underinvestment has left large parts of the country without adequate or reliable transport connections, which has severely hampered the country’s economic growth.

Although expanding the road network is also important, cataloguing and assessing existing roadways and prioritizing civil works can help accommodate expected increases in traffic.

By November 2014, the technical assistance is expected to produce a detailed inventory of assets; an analysis identifying roads eligible for periodic and routine maintenance programs, and those that will require complete rehabilitation; an asset management database; an assessment and evaluation mechanism for prioritizing road maintenance; a proposed five-year maintenance budget; and a proposal to raise funds for future repairs and works, including potential private sector concessions and a dedicated road fund supported by a fuel or other transport-related surcharges.