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LESSONS:

Provincial Highways Project

sector: Transport | country: Pakistan

Careful consideration should be given to the selection of executing agencies. Havingmultiple executing agencies with no direct linkage with the government’s hierarchy madecoordination and cooperation among the entities almost impossible. The Road MaintenanceManagement and Road Safety components would have been more successful if implemented by the Communications and Works Department (CWD).

Delays and extra expenses caused by pavement failures and the need to add thicker asphalt concrete on several road sections might have been avoided if supervision of the Project Preparatory Technical Assistance (PPTA)consultants, and scrutiny of the final civil works designs, had been closer. Funding constraints should not pressure design consultants to cut back on design standards; it would have been better to shorten the lengths of roads to be improved, rather than marginalizing the design.

The drawbacks of using a central coordinating agency, the National Highways Authority (NHA), and Ministry of Environment, Local Government and Rural Development (MELGRD) in the project were: (i) assumption of a far greater role than originally envisaged, thus resisting delegation of responsibility to the provincial Communications and Works Department (CWDs); (ii) diffusion of the institutional and sectoral aspects as reflected in the loan covenants; and (iii) a general lack of ownership by the provinces.

The project had difficulty in attracting the interest of international contractors for the prequalification process. Breaking such projects into smaller packages, suitable for local competitive bidding, would probably have been better.

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