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IDB approves US$50 million for Dominican Republic roads network

A US$50 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank will help finance the first phase of a program to upgrade, reconstruct and maintain the Dominican Republic’s road network.

The program, which will be executed by the Ministry of Public Works and Communications (SEOPC), is due to be carried out in three phases over a 12-year period. Investments will focus on key highways and local roads, complementing the VIADOM plan of trunk road concessions.

As part of the first phase, the program will reconstruct 111 kilometers of highways damaged by Hurricane Noel, which hit the Caribbean late October and early November. It will also rehabilitate 204 kilometers and finance maintenance work on 1,098 kilometers of the national highway system.

Another component will finance the maintenance of 2,000 kilometers of local roads. The work, which will be carried out by microenterprises, will include patching potholes, repairing culverts and bridges, cleaning ditches, clearing vegetation and maintaining road signs, among other tasks.

The program will also help strengthen the SEOPC’s capacity to manage road maintenance contracts and the freight vehicle weight control system. It will finance a pilot plan to install weigh stations at various points of the road network to reduce the wear caused by overloaded trucks.

The program is expected to help reduce vehicle operation costs by about 10 percent and cut average travel times by 10 percent.

The loan is for 25 years, with a 5 ½-year grace period and a variable interest rate. The OPEC Fund for Development will co-finance the program with US$30 million. For the next phases of the program the IDB could consider new loans totaling US$180 million.



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