The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a nearly $484m loan for a 64km-long expressway project in Myanmar.

The project will connect the capital of Bago region with the township of Kyaikto in Mon state.

It will also include building a 2.3km-long bridge across the Sittaung River. The construction of the bridge will be financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency with a JPY27.78bn ($254.8m) loan.

Once complete, the expressway is expected to facilitate economic development along the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) East–West Economic Corridor.

ADB senior transport specialist Shihiru Date said: “The Second GMS Highway Modernization Project will help the government build the four-lane, climate-resilient expressway and help ensure more efficient, safer movement of goods and people along the GMS economic corridor.

“The project will help strengthen Myanmar’s connectivity with Thailand and other countries along the GMS corridor and promote trade, tourism, and investment, as well as climate resilience and environmental sustainability.”

The move comes when the Government of Myanmar has decided to focus on improving the country’s road infrastructure in a bid to boost connectivity and facilitate trade.

The plan involves increasing investment in transport infrastructure from an average of 1% of GDP between 2005 and 2018 to 3% by 2030.

Last month, ADB approved a loan of $274.2m to upgrade a highway in Uzbekistan. The project involves reconstructing a 240km section of the Guzar–Bukhara–Nukus–Beyneu highway in Karakalpakstan.

Earlier this year, the financial institution approved $100m for rural road works in Bangladesh.