Manila: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $273.85 million loan to reconstruct and upgrade national roads in Uzbekistan that are vital to regional connectivity.
"As a double-landlocked country, reliable road networks that facilitate trade and transport with neighboring countries are vital to Uzbekistan’s economic growth," said ADB Director General for West and Central Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov in a press release on Tuesday.
"ADB is committed to supporting the government’s efforts to make its national roads better, safer, and more climate resilient—this will help realize Uzbekistan’s potential as a regional transport and logistics hub," he added.
While Uzbekistan’s existing road networks are generally adequate to meet existing capacity and connectivity demands, they are in poor condition and require rehabilitation. The country records 11.2 fatalities per 100,000 people per year, which is high by international standards, despite low levels of vehicle ownership.
ADB’s project will upgrade about 106 kilometers of the national road between Derbent and Denau in Surkhandarya region, and complete the reconstruction of about 87 kilometers of the Guzar–Bukhara–Nukus–Beyneu (A380) highway. The A380 highway is part of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Corridor 2, which connects Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
The project will widen the roads using low-maintenance concrete pavement and improve their condition to substantially reduce travel time and vehicle operating costs. It will upgrade alignments and junctions, provide bus stop shelters and better pedestrian facilities, and add clearer signage and other safety features. Two weigh-in-motion systems will be installed near Derbent and Denau to avoid vehicle overloading and prevent pavement damage.
"The road engineering and designs under this project are consistent with internationally recognized standards to improve road safety, climate resilience, and cost-efficiency," said ADB Director of Transport and Communications for Central and West Asia Hideaki Iwasaki.
"The project will also help to foster Uzbekistan’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by helping revitalize trade and tourism and providing employment to affected populations in project areas," he added.
The project includes a $150,000 technical assistance grant to support the economic recovery of women entrepreneurs in the project communities from the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing skills training in financial literacy, online marketing, and entrepreneurship development among others.