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LESSONS:

Third Local Roads Project (Loan 1232-INO)

sector: Transport | country: Indonesia

As kabupaten road upgrading and rehabilitation works can produce very high economic investment return rates (EIRRs) and generate significant socioeconomic impact, such works should remain a focus for ADB lending operations.

In many kabupatens, the costs for periodic maintenance overlays of hot rolled sheet pavement are now about equivalent to the previously-more-common penmac type of pavement. As it provides a smoother riding surface, a flexible pavement matrix that more readily accommodates expansive soil types, and a longer pavement life if properly maintained, hot rolled sheet pavement should be used instead of penmac wherever possible.

The capacity of the executing agency and its relationship with the implementing agency is a crucial factor in ensuring that the project is implemented as planned. There should be some chain of authority between the two that makes the latter accountable to the former. Ensuring accountability to a central body is essential in a decentralized administrative structure, especially if the implementing agency is a local government unit.

The economic impact of road works is short lived if routine maintenance is delayed or poor. High-quality civil works at initial implementation are essential, but follow-on routine maintenance is necessary to sustain the benefits gained through the improved road surface.

The provision of equipment is a necessary but not the sole condition sufficient for strengthening the capabilities of implementing agencies to plan and undertake road works. More importantly, in Project Design, ADB should ensure that there is an enabling environment for the implementing agencies to plan and undertake such works. While they may be technically capable and proper equipment would provide them with the necessary tools, the political climate and the administrative structure need to be conducive as well.

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