ADB to Loan $80M for Upgrade of Irrawaddy Delta Road

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 28 November 2014

RANGOON — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday announced it will provide the Burma government with an US$80 million loan for the upgrade of a road that is a key transport link in and out of the Irrawaddy Delta, the country’s most important rice-growing area and home to millions of farmers.

The ADB said it would fund upgrading the 54-kilometer road link between Pyapon, a town located close to the mouth of the Delta, and Maubin, located some 60 kilometer west of Rangoon.

“Upgrading the Maubin-Pyapon road which traverses the southeast of the Delta will dramatically improve connectivity, cut travel times, reduce transport costs, and support economic development and livelihood opportunities for many poor communities,” Jamie Leather, principal transport specialist in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department, said in a statement.

The bank said the region is Burma’s agricultural heart and has potential for large-scale agribusiness and seafood industries, but the road network is in “poor condition, due to years of neglect and the impact of Cyclone Nargis in 2008”, adding that this “deters enterprises like cash crops and high-value seafood products which require decent roads to get goods to market on time and in good condition.”

“Climate-resilient features have been incorporated in the project design, including an increase in the height of parts of the road to improve clearance during seasonal floods and to cope with any climate-related storm surges,” the ADB release said, adding that road safety measures and connections to local waterways would also be included.

It said the project could help reduce travel times in and out of the southeastern part of the Delta by 20 percent; the bank expects the road upgrade to be completed by September 2018.