The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide a $200m loan for the upgrade of around 230km of highways in the Indian state of Bihar.

Bihar Government intends to use the loan to convert all state highways to two lanes and improve bridges and rural roads.

The new initiative is expected to support Bihar’s vision to provide good transport accessibility and a quality road network, as stated in its road master plan (2015–2035).

ADB transport specialist Kai Wei Yeo said: “While the government has been progressively improving carriageway widths of state highways, about 35% of the roads have yet to meet the minimum two-lane standard.

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“While the government has been progressively improving carriageway widths of state highways, about 35% of the roads have yet to meet the minimum two-lane standard.”

“The project will support the government program to upgrade all state highways to at least standard two-lane width and improve road safety while reconstructing, widening, and strengthening culverts and bridges.”

The government will provide $104m towards the total project cost of $304m.

Authorities have selected roads spread across Bihar’s rural areas that lack reliable road connectivity to health, education, and commercial facilities for improvement under the scheme.

The project will also see the establishment of the Bihar Road Research Institute in Patna to improve institutional capacity at a technical level.

Since 2008, ADB is said to have provided four loans totaling $1.43bn to the state to upgrade approximately 1,450km of state highways and construct a new bridge over the Ganga River near Patna.

Work is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.