The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved a US$250 million loan for the China Hubei Xiaogan-Xiangfan Highway Project on September 17. The project will provide for a more effective, safe, and efficiently managed highway system, which will help to support social and economic development as well as trade in Hubei Province. It will also improve transportation links to China's Western region.
The project will support the construction of the 243.5 kilometers Xiaogan-Xiangfan expressway, as well as the improvement of road accessibility in poor counties. It will also strengthen the capacity of highway management in Hubei province.
"About 24 million people live in Hubei province areas will directly benefit from this project," says World Bank Lead Transport Specialist and Task Manager for the project Michel Bellier. "It will lower transportation costs, make road travel safer, and make it easier for residents of low income areas to access markets, schools, and health centers."
Specifically, the benefits from the project will include:
Increased capacity for transportation, and a decrease in traffic congestion in the Xiaogan-Xiangfan corridor; also, regional and economic integration with the less developed western areas of Hubei province through the construction of the Xiaogan-Xiangfan Expressway.
Improved accessibility to transportation links in low income areas in Hubei province through a program of rehabilitation and upgrading of rural roads in poor counties; and
Improved management and maintenance of roads and better road safety conditions through the provision of training, technical assistance, and equipment to the Hubei Provincial Communication Department and related provincial road agencies.
(china.org.cn September 18, 2002)