WASHINGTON, May 17, 2011—The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a US$20 million grant to repair and upgrade 110km roads between Dili, Aileu and Ainaro. The Road Climate Resilience Project will help connect more than 340,000 people living in the project area with schools, hospitals, towns and markets, and will support the Ministry of Infrastructure in developing sustainable systems for road maintenance.
Over recent years much of the national road network has deteriorated and during the rainy season many roads become completely impassable due to landslides, flooding and road failures. Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Infrastructure reports that extreme rainfall events are likely to become more frequent as a result of climate change, increasing the probability of landslides and placing greater demands on road infrastructure.
“Roads are essential for Timor's development and connecting people to essential services," said Luis Constantino, World Bank Country Manager for Timor Leste. "Beyond rehabilitating important portions of the road corridor and undertaking a number of emergency repairs, this project will incorporate longer term measures for improving the sustainability of road infrastructure. In so doing it will set an all-important benchmark for other road developments in Timor Leste."
The project is expected to enable local people to reach essential services like healthcare and education safely and efficiently and improve incomes in project areas by providing access to markets and urban centres. It will also create job opportunities in disadvantaged communities between Dili and Ainaro, where there are currently disproportionately high levels of unemployment and poverty.
The project will undertake construction works to stabilize structures of slopes, improve drainage and repair pavements. Emergency response systems will also be put into place to ensure that roads can be repaired quickly after flooding and other natural disasters.
A key part of the project involves training local communities and businesses to undertake minor repairs and putting systems in place for routine maintenance.