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FEATURE STORY

Better Road Connectivity Creates More Jobs

November 22, 2016


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World Bank

HIGHLIGHTS

·         Connection to schools, markets and health facilities helps a nation to prosper and improve the quality of people’s lives.

·         In Bangladesh, extreme seasonal weather such as floods, cyclones and droughts as well as frequent use by heavy goods vehicles mean that roads need to be repaired on a regular basis.

·         The Second Bangladesh Rural Transport Improvement Project (RTIP II) provides rural communities with improved access to social services and economic opportunity and builds the capacity of government institutions to better manage rural transport infrastructure.

 


" My steady earnings have also helped my family save for a better future.  "

Morgina from Gazipur

Roads contractor

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The World Bank

Despite the wide network and large investments on the country’s road network, the rural roads needs regular repair and rehabilitation. The quality, construction, and carrying capacity of part of the secondary and tertiary road network are poor. In 2000, only 37 percent of the population lived within 2 km of an all-season road. About 13,000 km of Upazila Roads, out of 36,500 km, were of all-weather standard and most of the rural Union Roads remained unpaved. Hence, large portions of the secondary and tertiary road network remained impassable during the rainy season. Inland waterway is an important mode of transportation for the poor as it is cheaper than road or rail transport, more energy efficient, and environmentally friendly. Furthermore, it provides access to very remote areas and offshore islands where there is neither road not railway communication. About 12% of the rural population in Bangladesh has water transport as its only mode of transport.

Approach

RTIP II builds on the success of the preceding RTIP I project covering 26 districts that comprised upazila and union roads’ improvement, periodic maintenance of Upazila roads, construction  bridges/culverts on rural roads, improvement/construction of rural markets, and rural jetties. The project interventions created approximately 50,000 person-years of employment in project areas, out of which 30% were for poor women. The improved roads have made it easier for children to go to school, for expectant mothers to reach hospitals in an emergency and for both local farmers and consumers to reach markets. Study results showed that the average travel times and transportation costs had been reduced by more than 50%. RTIP II has expanded the coverage to improve road connectivity in the countryside. The project aims to maintain and improve approximately 5,250 km of union and upazila roads in 26 districts for better rural connectivity. RTIP II will improve 820 km of rural roads through upgrading from earthen to paved roads standard including construction of cross-drainage structures, maintain 4,000 km of rural roads following regular maintenance strategies, and maintain 428 km rural roads for five years following the Performance-based Maintenance Contract (PBMC) approach.

The project will enhance transport safety in all 26 districts, including road safety audit, community-level awareness, improved accident data collection (pilot) and strengthening road safety capacity of the Local Government Engineering Department. The project is piloting 44 km rural waterways restoration through low impact dredging using local technology. Thus poor and isolated communities having access only to waterways will stay connected all year round.  In addition, landing stations/jetties are being constructed at 10 locations. The project is also improving and developing 33 growth center markets, which are rural population’s centers of economic activity. In each of these markets, a number of shops are reserved for women traders in Women’s Marketing Sections (WMS).

Results

  • 2,533 km roads maintenance work completed, 63% of physical progress as per latest assessment.
  • 309 km of performance based maintenance contract completed in terms of initial repair, 72% of physical progress as per latest assessment.
  • 22 million people living near roads and waterways benefitted.

Toward the Future

To improve the sustainability of rural transport interventions, RTIP II shifts emphasis from building new roads to rehabilitating and maintaining the existing rural transport network. Performance Based Maintenance Contracts (PBMCs) will be a way forward in the rural roads’ maintenance. RTIP II is developing a comprehensive maintenance strategy. Furthermore, the rural water way restoration work pilot, if successful, may pave way to further investments in this area. This in turn will, enhance rural connectivity further. The project is also developing a comprehensive rural road transport safety framework to tackle safety issues linked to rural roads, where many of the accident victims are vulnerable road users.  RTIP II is also envisaging working on the improvement of rural road bridges’ maintenance management. The project also plans to sustainably enhance the Local Government Engineering Department’s capacities in planning, monitoring, finance, asset management, administration and governance.

Basic Information

Approval date

20 September 2012

Start date

20 December 2012

End date

30 April 2018

Total IDA commitment

$302 million

Total project cost

$417 million

Implementing agency

Local Government Engineering Department 

 


Second Rural Transport Improvement Project
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