The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $274.2m to upgrade 240km of highway in Uzbekistan to improve road transport connectivity.

Under the project, a 240km section of the Guzar–Bukhara–Nukus–Beyneu highway in Karakalpakstan will be reconstructed as a two-lane, cement concrete road.

As part of Corridor 2 of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Programme, the reconstructed roads will link villages to the Guzar–Bukhara–Nukus–Beyneu highway.

ADB senior transport specialist Pawan Karki said: “As a double-landlocked country, Uzbekistan has made regional connectivity the centerpiece of its transport policy.

“This project will help to develop the country’s potential as a regional transport and logistics hub between Europe and South and East Asia, promoting economic growth.”

The road project will include climate-resilient features and provide five rest stops with market stalls and separate sanitary facilities for women.

The project will aid Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Transport to install an intelligent transport system along a 100km pilot section of the Tashkent–Namangan road to monitor traffic and road conditions in real time.

At select points of the road network, two fully automated weigh-in-motion facilities will be installed to avoid overloading of vehicles on the highway network.

This will prevent accelerated pavement deterioration and improve road safety and traffic efficiency.

ADB has invested $1.3bn in Uzbekistan’s road and rail transport infrastructure.

The CAREC programme is a partnership of 11 countries, comprising Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

In a separate development, the European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide a loan of €264m ($314m) for the construction of a 31km section of the A49 motorway in Germany.

The new Schwalmstadt-Ohmtal Dreieck section work was awarded to construction technology group STRABAG SE’s subsidiary STRABAG Infrastrukturprojekt.

This road section is located in the German State of Hesse.