The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has sanctioned a grant of $67.49m to enhance the road network in Southern Tajikistan.

ADB’s grants will be used to rehabilitate two national road sections in the Khatlon Region.

The project will see the rehabilitation of a road stretch between Dangara and Okmazor (28.7km), as well as between Hulbuk and Kangurt (59.5km).

The Dangara-Okmazor stretch currently supports traffic volumes of 4,200 vehicles a day while Hulbuk-Kangurt supports 1,300 vehicles daily.

Both road sections are linked with Asian Highway 66, a key road between the Asian and European countries.

Upon completion, the project is expected to improve the safety and reliability of the country’s road network.

ADB Central and West Asia Transport Specialist Rika Idei said: “Tajikistan relies heavily on road transport for international and domestic movement of goods and people.

“But much of the national road network has deteriorated and is unsafe, hindering the livelihoods and daily economic activities of local people. The project will help to strengthen Tajikistan’s road network by introducing important climate change adaptation, disaster risk management, and road safety features.”

The road rehabilitation project is expected to support the objectives of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program, which aims to improve the connectivity and competitiveness of key national roads with international corridors.

This project is also expected to support Tajikistan Ministry of Transport in operationalising a road asset management system by creating a database of the country’s arterial highways, as well as training staff to collect and analyse the data.

The creation of the country’s arterial highways database will help the government keep track of and prepare annual maintenance plans and will ensure an adequate budget for maintenance.

In addition, ADB’s grant will be used to promote the economic participation of women in the area by providing better access to grants for women starting new businesses.

Last December, ADB awarded a $110m grant to Tajikistan for the construction of a 30km-highway section and 30km of secondary roads from Obigarm to Nurobod in the country’s northeast.