ADB to Help Build All-Weather Rural Roads in Myanmar

News Release | 12 November 2019

NAY PYI TAW, MYANMAR (12 November 2019) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $51.2 million financing package to help upgrade about 152 kilometers (km) of rural roads with paved surface and climate-resilient features across150 villages in Ayeyarwady and Magway, two less-developed regions in Myanmar.

The Rural Roads and Access Project, financed by ADB through a $45.4 million loan and a $5.8 million grant from the Asian Development Fund, will help villagers gain access to all-weather roads and reduce the average travel time for motorized vehicles by at least 18 minutes. To increase disaster resilience, the project will raise road surfaces higher to avoid frequent flooding, and the pavement surfacing will be constructed with durable materials such as cement concrete.

“The project will provide rural residents in four townships of Ayeyarwady and Magway with reliable, climate-proof roads, so they can better access markets and job opportunities,” said ADB Senior Transport Specialist for Southeast Asia Mr. Shihiru Date. “It will also help Myanmar address the challenges of climate change, which can cause severe damages to deteriorating rural roads.”

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, according to the Rural Access Index database. ADB studies revealed that over 4 million people in Myanmar are not connected by road, and 10 million more are connected by roads that are not passable during the rainy season. Only about 6% of the country’s 95,000 km rural road network is considered paved, while 28% has a gravel or stone surface, which is 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. That includes the ability to conduct emergency maintenance and assess disaster risks using data and information and communications technology. A community-based road safety program will also be implemented to raise awareness of the changes in traffic pattern in the project areas.

The total cost of the project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2025, is $52.41 million, with the Government of Myanmar contributing $1.21 million.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.