Apr 13, Colombo: The World Bank Tuesday said it had approved $100 million in additional financing for ‘The Sri Lanka Road Sector Assistance Project’ to support the Sri Lankan government to continue creating an efficient national road system and lower transportation costs to maximize opportunities and growth.
According to a press release form World bank, the project, initially approved in 2005 has resurfaced and improved over 620km of national roads which has contributed to improvements in road conditions as well as increased maintenance finance.
“This assistance is being provided for the scaling up of the project which will enable the Government of Sri Lanka to provide improved connectivity to the Northern and Eastern provinces and thereby reap the benefits of the cessation of the conflict,” the statement said.
World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka, Diarietou Gaye has said that connecting people to prosperity between the East and West will be critical for Sri Lanka to realize its ambitious development goals.
“This additional support will contribute to the development of tourism and other industries in the region to increase competitiveness,” She has said.
According to the World Bank, the annual maintenance investments by the government have increased from $13 million in 2005 to $46 million in 2010 and average vehicle operating costs on National Highways has decreased from 23.9 Sri Lankan Rupees per kilometer to 14.8 rupees per kilometer.
The government with the grant expects to rehabilitate an additional 134km of national roads in the East-West corridor and continue to strengthen assistance in road maintenance and safety.
“The assistance that has been designed based on the experiences from the parent project has also focused on the empowerment of the Road Development Authority whilst retaining focus on the sustainable mechanism for road maintenance. The project will also take forward the government’s initiative on road safety,” Amali Rajapaksa, Project Team Leader has said.
The Road Sector Assistance Project follows a series of support that have been designed to improve Sri Lanka’s road system working in coordination with the Japan Agency for International Cooperation (JICA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as outlined in the National Road Sector Master Plan.