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World Bank to Support Shaanxi's Road Development
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Yesterday the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved a loan of US$300 million to China to help finance the Shaanxi Ankang Road Development Project. The project aims to support efforts to improve road transport in Shaanxi Province in western China.


Shaanxi Province, with per capita GDP at around 70% of the national average, ranks low among the provinces and regions of China in terms of economic development. A large portion of the poor population in Shaanxi lives in the Ankang region. Located in the southern mountainous part of the province, social and economic development in Ankang has been constrained by a lack of adequate transport accessibility and a road network of poor quality. The project will help address that.


"Through this project, we hope to support the Shaanxi Provincial Transportation Department's plans to improve transport accessibility in an efficient and safe manner along the corridor from Ankang to Maoba in Shaanxi Province," said World Bank project leader and Lead Transport Specialist Aurelio Menendez. "We expect to achieve this by enhancing road infrastructure capacity and network integration along the corridor Ankang-Maoba; increasing accessibility to markets and social services for the lower-income families in the rural areas of Ankang; and strengthening the Shaanxi Provincial Transportation Department's capacity in managing the increasing number of kilometers of roads in the province and, in particular, within the Ankang region."


The project will finance the construction of an expressway of about 87 km connecting Ankang and Maoba; and rehabilitate, expand and upgrade existing roadways to improve interconnections between provincial, county and village roads. The Bank will also support an institutional strengthening program including impact evaluation and monitoring studies to measure the impacts of road rehabilitation, acquisition of road-condition data collection equipment, technical assistance and training of staff from provincial and local transport management departments.


The total project cost is US$735 million, and Bank finances US$300 million.


Over the past 20 years, the World Bank has provided support to more than 65 transport projects in Chinese provinces and cities on railways, waterways, ports, urban transport and primarily roads and highways. 


( March 14, 2007)


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