-ANI): Nepal is all set to get 60 million U.S. dollars for construction, improvement and maintenance of bridges from the World Bank. The money is being made available under its new lending mechanism, Project for Result (P4R).
The Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management said that all the preparations had been completed, and the World Bank's decision would formalize the financing under the P4R by last week of June.
According to Thursday's The Kathmandu Post daily report, a proposal to this effect will be tabled at the bank's board meeting scheduled to be held on June 28 in Washington, DC. The government decided to apply for funding from this project after conducting the necessary negotiations with World Bank-Nepal regarding the terms and references.
"The funds will be utilized to build new bridges and maintain old ones in the Strategic Road Network," said Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary at the Physical Planning Ministry.
He added that the Bridges Improvement and Maintenance Program to be implemented with this money would also be involved in capacity building activities.
The project will set up a standard system under which new crossings will be built in a transparent way based on need and not on an ad hoc basis under political pressure, said Roads Department officials.
The funds will be spent over the next five years to build 121 new bridges (including those under construction) and maintain 426 existing bridges in the Strategic Road Network.
According to a study of the department, 89 bridges are in urgent need of major maintenance. Likewise, 401 are in need of non- urgent major maintenance and 95 require minor maintenance. All these bridges will be improved over the next five years.
The government has set a target to repair, upgrade or replace all the old bridges in the Strategic Road Network within five years.
Department officials said that construction of new bridges and maintenance of old ones was not possible without the support of donors. This is the first time that the World Bank is providing support to the bridge sector. (Xinhua-ANI)