Asian Development Bank (ADB) approves $295m loan to widen and upgrade 265km of state highways, improving transport connectivity and safety in the state of Bihar, India.
Enhanced highways in the Indian state of Bihar will be upgraded with climate and disaster resilient design, road safety elements and other features that will respond to the needs of the elderly, women, children and people with disabilities.
The project will also encourage women’s participation by providing employment to female workers in construction works. Training in livelihood as well as awareness on road safety, health and hygiene and abuse and harassment will be offered to women from communities in the project areas.
ADB senior transport specialist for South Asia, Kai Wei Yeo, explained: “Improved connectivity and road safety is critical to areas that rely heavily on agriculture such as Bihar. Better infrastructure allows farmers to connect to markets and improve their incomes. These also promote employment outside farms and access to quality health and education facilities. The project will help uplift the lives of the people in Bihar, especially in project areas that are considered to be among the poorest in the country.”
Initiatives to strengthen transport planning, safety, and sustainability within Bihar State Road Development Corporation Limited will be implemented alongside the road investment. These include developing a road asset management system with climate change and disaster risk information, establishing research laboratories with training equipment in the Bihar Road Research Institute, conducting studies on congestion management and climate adaptation and creating guidelines for gender-inclusive practices in road safety measures.
The government is contributing $156.6m to the project, and the ADB’s finance raises its investment in Bihar’s highways to $1.63bn over the past 15 years, upgrading 1,696km of state highways and constructing a bridge across the Ganga River.