ADB okays $346 m loan to upgrade highways in Karnataka

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Friday approved a $346 million (approximately Rs 2,242 crore) loan to upgrade highways in Karnataka.

"The road network is a critical element of the transport infrastructure in Karnataka," said Ravi Peri, an ADB Principal Transport Specialist.

The project will improve 419 km of state highways, upgrading them to two and four-lane and improving culverts and bridges. The project will also carry out a road safety survey to identify critical accident spots across the state highways and carry out measures to improve them. In addition, the project will strengthen the efficiency and work of the Karnataka Public Works, Ports and Inland Water Transport Department.

This is the second loan from ADB for improving the state's road network. The total cost of this project is $655 million, of which the state government will provide $202 million and the private sector will invest an estimated $107 million through hybrid annuity contracts. The project is due for completion at the end of 2023.

"In line with state policy which recognises road development as an engine of growth, the Karnataka State Highways Improvement Project-III will improve road capacity and maintenance, promote safer roads, and increase access to markets and basic services," he said in a statement which the Manila-based ADB issued in New Delhi.

Road transport in the state has increased rapidly, and there is a need to prioritise expansion and improvement of the road network to retain Karnataka's advantage in economic development.

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