The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a grant of $40m for a road project in Samoa.

The project will see the upgrade of the Central Cross Island Road in Upolu Island with the construction of 8.4km of footpaths and 11 pedestrian crossings.

Covering a distance of 20km, Central Cross Island road serves as an arterial road for more than 7,000 people living in the region, as well as for businesses between the capital Apia, and the southern edge of the island.

The $40m grant is being provided by ADB from its Asian Development Fund.

The project will incorporate climate adaptation, road maintenance, road safety enhancements and alternative road construction techniques, with an objective to minimise carbon footprint.

ADB Pacific principal infrastructure specialist Rustam Ishenaliev said: “The Samoa Central Cross Island Road Upgrading Project is the first major road project in Samoa to receive ADB support.

“The project will upgrade and climate-proof about 20km of road, incorporating innovative technologies, road safety measures, and gender-inclusive elements such as catering to the requirements and welfare of women.”

The project also includes setting up 18 safe bus stops and 18 streetlights.

Once completed, the road, which is considered to be an important route in the Samoa region, is expected to become safer, efficient, climate-resilient, and sustainable.

The project will also finance routine maintenance of the upgraded road for three years and will also enhance capabilities of Samoa Land Transport Authority staff and other government officials in project management, procurement, gender aspects and public communications.

Samoa Land Transport Authority CEO Galumalemana Ta’atialeoitiiti Agnes Tutuvanu-Schwalger said: “The Government of Samoa is grateful for ADB’s assistance to upgrade and climate-proof the Central Cross Island Road that provides shorter travelling time for all motorists, a safe inland route for first responders in the event of a natural disaster, and ultimately provide a boost for tourism, agriculture, and trade in Samoa.”

Last month, ADB sanctioned a grant of $67.49m to enhance the road network in Southern Tajikistan.