Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– The Rural Transport Improvement Project (RTIP) has maintained and improved more than 2500 kilometers of rural roads and built or improved 121 growth market centers and 32 jetties in 21 districts.
“The project so far created more than 40, 000 person years of employment in the project area,” a World Bank (WB) information note said Tuesday. 
The government’s RTIP, supported by the World Bank, is helping to improve the rural road network in the country side. 
“Improved rural roads have made it easier for the children to go to school, health care facilities are now more accessible and new economic opportunities have opened up for villagers,” it added. 
The final socio-economic monitoring and evaluation study shows significant reductions in travel times for both motorized and non-motorized vehicles.
The project’s impact area covers over 44,000 square kilometers in 21 districts. 
The project adopted an integrated approach to rural trade and transport infrastructure development by focusing on the physical improvements of inter linked roads, small bridges and culverts, growth center markets and river jetties, the World Bank said.  
The International Development Association (IDA), the concessionary arm of the World Bank, is funding US$190 million for this project which is being implemented by the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED). 
Under the project, a financing agreement for $ 20 million additional fund for flood rehabilitation work was signed in 2008 and further $ 7.0 million savings from the main project was also channeled for flood rehabilitation in 16 districts. 
The World Bank has already disbursed more than $200 million and the rest will be disbursed by June 2012 when the project ends.
A World Bank mission recently reviewed the progress of the project and confirmed the project is on the right track in achieving the project objectives. 
The project also contributed in developing a comprehensive rural road transport safety framework and implementing sustainable enhancements to LGED’s capacities in planning, monitoring, finance, asset management, administration and governance.
BBN/SSR/AD-28June11-9:56 pm (BST)