ADB-Financed Road Upgrade to improve Dushanbe-Qurgonteppa connectivity

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Dushanbe, /. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $65.2 million in loan and grant financing for Tajikistan to improve road connectivity between the capital Dushanbe and Qurghonteppa, two major cities and economic hubs in the country, according to ADB Tajikistan Resident Mission (TJRM).

The project will directly benefit residents in Dushanbe and the southern Khatlon province by improving access to jobs, markets, and public services while reducing the likelihood and severity of road collisions, said Kamel Bouhmad, Transport Specialist with ADB's Central and West Asia Regional Department. It will also help develop the economic corridor between Dushanbe and Afghanistan � he added.

The road is a strategic north�south link, one of the most heavily traveled roads in the country, and is part of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) corridors 2, 5, and 6.

Tajikistan's 27,000 kilometers of road network was largely constructed before the 1970s and their overall condition is relatively poor. The rapid increase of traffic in some arterial roads is intensifying pressure on aging transport infrastructure.

In addition, during winter season, when glacial melt is at its lowest and energy demand the highest, villages experience frequent power outages which affect road safety, restrict economic activities, and increase domestic hardship�especially for women.

The approved first phase financing will focus on upgrading an approximately 33-km section of the road from Dushanbe to Chashmasoron. The project will enhance the road by expanding its width from two to four lanes, improving its surface condition, and providing well-designed safety facilities. It will also introduce clean energy technologies�such as solar street lighting and solar-based backup systems�to boost power reliability and efficiency.

The ADB financing includes a $49.4 million concessional loan and a $15.8 million grant. In addition, ADB will administer a $2 million grant from the multi-donor Clean Energy Fund under the Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility. The Government of Tajikistan will provide counterpart funding of $17.2 million, and the OPEC Fund for International Development a $12 million cofinancing loan. The Ministry of Transport will be the executing agency for the project, which is due for completion in 2021.

Tajikistan joined ADB in 1998, and to date ADB has approved around $1.5 billion in concessional loans, grants, and technical assistance to the country. ADB's country partnership strategy with Tajikistan focuses on improved infrastructure, investment climate reforms, and improved food security.

Source: National information agency of Tajikistan