The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $75 million loan as additional financing for a project that aims to improve road conditions, capacity, and road safety on provincial roads in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan.
The additional funding will widen and enhance 42 kilometers of the total length (53.9 km) of the chronically congested and unsafe Mardan–Swabi road.
In November 2017, ADB approved a $140 million loan for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Road Improvement Project to rehabilitate eight sections of key provincial roads and improve transport efficiency and safety.
The additional financing, which was first requested by the Government of Pakistan in May 2018, will widen the existing two-lane road between Mardan and Swabi to a four-lane divided road to accommodate an increase in traffic volume, including heavy trucks, and improve the road safety.
The Mardan–Swabi road, which suffers from severe traffic congestion and road safety issues caused by mixed traffic, runs through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s agricultural heartland between the Indus and Kabul rivers—highlighting its importance to the economic performance of the province.
The average daily traffic on the road connecting the two cities is about 7,000 vehicles, excluding a high volume of non-motorized traffic, such as motorcycles and rickshaws, and traffic will continue to grow at 3.4% annually.
“Improving transportation facilities and road safety is important in the growth and development of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” said ADB Principal Transport Specialist for Central and West Asia Jiangbo Ning. “Expanding the Mardan–Swabi road section will support the growth of the province’s agricultural, industrial, and commercial activities, while helping improve people’s mobility and access to social services.”
Apart from rehabilitating and introducing climate-resilient features on 42 km of the road section, the project will also include tolling and gender-sensitive facilities such as bus shelters and pedestrian facilities.
The project will also promote road safety measures as part of the capacity building efforts for the Communications and Works Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.