The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to support a road expansion project in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

As part of this initiative, ADB will provide a $31m loan to finance the Transport Sector Preparatory Project.

The project will carry out a feasibility study and detailed engineering designs, including bidding documents and procurement support for three transport projects along the northern region road corridor.

It will also make improvements to the Highlands core network in central PNG.

Beginning at the Indonesian–PNG border, the northern region road corridor covers approximately 1,500km, connecting the ports of Vanimo, Wewak, Madang, and Lae with the Highlands highway and southern region corridor.

ADB PNG country director David Hill said: “This project readiness financing is ADB’s new and innovative way to fast-track projects while improving engineering designs and procurement.

“This facility is the foundation for implementing the government’s new Connect PNG strategy and will support the construction of key economically strategic roads for the next ten to 15 years.”

The $31m concessional loan will be offered to the project from ADB’s Ordinary Capital Resources. The project is also being supported with $3.1m from the Government of PNG.

Once completed, the project will not only see road expansion but will also improve the country’s road network.

By constructing and improving the missing links, the project is expected to support the region’s economic growth.

In June, ADB agreed to support the development of sustainable urban transport in China and facilitate the reduction of carbon emissions in the country.

The regional development bank signed an $80m loan agreement with the Bank of Communications Financial Leasing (BOCFL), a financial leasing company in China.

The proceeds will be used to fund the lease of new energy buses (NEBs), which will include battery-powered electric buses with zero direct emissions.