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WB approves $358m to help BD improve road safety

March 30, 2022 00:00:00

The World Bank approved on Tuesday $358 million of financing to help Bangladesh improve road safety and reduce fatalities and injuries from road traffic crashes in selected high-risk highways and district roads, reports BSS.

The Road Safety Project will help Bangladesh achieve the Sustainable Development Goals on road safety by 2030. In two national highways-N4 (Gazipur-Elenga) and N6 (Natore to Nawabganj)-the project will pilot comprehensive road safety measures, including improved engineering designs, signing and marking, pedestrian facilities, speed enforcement, emergency care.

These measures will help reduce road traffic deaths by more than 30 percent on these two highways, said a press release.

"Road accidents are the leading cause of permanent disability, and the fourth leading cause for children's death. They disproportionately affect poor families. For Bangladesh, improving road safety is a critical economic and development priority," said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.

"This is the first dedicated road safety project in South Asia supported by the World Bank. It will help Bangladesh develop a comprehensive program to improve road safety management and minimize tragic loss of human lives," she added.

The credit is from the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), which provides concessional financing, has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period. Bangladesh currently has the largest ongoing IDA program totaling over $14.5 billion.

The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh and has committed $35 billion in grants, interest-free, and concessional credits to the country since its Independence.

The costs related to traffic crashes can be as high as 5.1 percent of the GDP. Unsafe and under-invested road infrastructure is one of the key factors for crashes.

With a sharp increase in the number of vehicles including two-wheelers, safety inspections for the registered vehicles remain inadequate.

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