Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan worth more than $200m to improve about 1,700km of rural roads in Bangladesh.

The project’s total cost is estimated to be $285.31m. ADB will offer a concessional loan of $100m and a regular loan of $100m, while the remaining $85.31m will be provided by the Bangladesh Government.

The financial package will help improve rural roads to all-weather standards in 34 districts of Bangladesh.

Roads will be selected based on several factors, including population size, agricultural potential, farms and commercial entities, as well as economic potential.

However, the programme will particularly focus on repairing the roads damaged by flashfloods last year.

ADB senior rural development specialist Lee Ming Tai said: “Rural roads are critical to supporting the country’s agriculture sector, which accounted for more than 15% of the country’s gross domestic product in 2015 and employs, directly or indirectly, about half of the workforce.

“ADB’s Rural Connectivity Improvement Project will support the government’s current ‘Seventh Five Year Plan’, which focuses on boosting rural incomes, as well as agriculture’s contribution to economic development.” Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

“Rural roads are critical to supporting the country’s agriculture sector, which accounted for more than 15% of the country’s gross domestic product in 2015.”

The climate-resilient designs of the road will include elevated paving, drainage, road foundations, and earthworks to significantly reduce maintenance.

Signage, guard posts, and speed breakers will also be installed to ensure commuter safety.

The local government engineering department will be given training on road safety, road and financial management, climate resilient design and construction, and improving road users’ awareness. Road construction and maintenance training for women will also be provided.

ADB is offering a technical assistance grant of $1m to support these activities. During the project design phase, more than 2,400 women were consulted in the project area to give them more access to economic opportunities and services.

The road construction project is expected to be completed by November 2023. Once finished, the roads will be covered under contractual maintenance on a pilot basis for a period of five years.