WASHINGTON, DC May 19, 2011 - Today World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved an additional loan of US$50 million to the People’s Republic of China to rehabilitate and improve rural roads in Fujian Province.
The original Fujian Highway Sector Investment Project, approved by the World Bank in October, 2006 and supported by a US$320 million loan, aimed to increase the effective use of the road infrastructure in Fujian Province to support its social and economic development. It was the first World Bank-funded project in China to adopt a sector wide approach, and Fujian provincial and local governments quickly adapted to it and successfully implemented it over the past years. Under the project, a total of 10,000 km of rural roads have been improved, providing more than 7,500 rural villages with all-weather access to the main road network. According to survey findings, the average travel time on the newly-improved rural roads has been reduced by 58 percent and the travel volume increased by 127 percent. In addition, the Yong’an-Wuping Expressway, another sub-component of the project, was completed and opened to traffic in June 2010, significantly relieving the traffic pressure along the corridor. To extend the success of the project, Fujian Provincial Government has initiated a new rural road improvement program (2010-2012) aimed to improve access roads to more villages in the province.
The additional funding for the Fujian Highway Sector Investment Project will support reconstruction or rehabilitation of an additional 1,000 km of unpaved rural roads or rural roads in poor condition in 61 counties and districts of eight municipalities in Fujian. Training and learning opportunities will also be extended to local government agencies focused on environmental design and construction, maintenance and management of rural roads.
“‘To become rich, first build roads’ is a well-known slogan in China. It has been implemented by the Government over the past thirty years and this approach will likely continue in the foreseeable future. Rural roads improvement alone could not eliminate rural poverty, but without improved rural roads, it surely is impossible,” said Zhai Xiaoke, World Bank Transport Specialist who is the task team leader for this project.