CAREC highway linking Kyrgyz Republic and PRC gets $55 million ADB loan

A third highway project along the 539-kilometer (km) stretch of CAREC Corridor 1 from the Kyrgyz Republic’s capital Bishkek to Torugart, near the boundary of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), will receive a $55 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). This 60 km section, the last segment of the corridor, will undergo reconstruction starting from Ak Beit to Torugart.

Director General of ADB’s Central and West Asia Department Juan Miranda said this is a must-do project because “the Bishkek to Torugart highway runs straight through the heart of the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Kyrgyz Republic sits at the heart of Central Asia.”

The section will benefit the southeastern part of the country where poverty is widespread. Mr. Miranda said it will halve travel times and boost trade: “When every new stretch of the CAREC highway is completed, the region will be closer and closer to realizing its potential as a major international crossroads for trade and commerce.”

He added, “The goods people eat, buy and trade will move quicker from source to destination, crossing borders more efficiently and reaching consumers at a better price—and with better quality and selection—than ever before. This is part of what CAREC is all about.”

The project’s 60 km of two-lane Bishkek-Torugart road (km 479—km 579) will be upgraded to national Category III road standards with special features to protect the environment, preserve the road structure, and reduce vehicle accidents. The project will also strengthen the infrastructure management skills of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) staff through training, education, and mentoring from national and international consultants.

Expected to cost $70 million equivalent, the $55 million ADB loan will have a 32-year term, including a grace period of 8 years. The Kyrgyz government will finance $15 million, mainly in the form of taxes and import duties, and resources to cover contingencies.

There are two ongoing projects along CAREC Corridor 1. The first project will improve a
39 km road stretch within the Char Pass-Ak Beit Pass section (from km 400 to km 439), modernize customs infrastructure at the Kyrgyz–PRC border crossing at Torugart, develop a transport sector master plan, and ensure a fully operational Bishkek-Torugart Road Corridor Management Department.

The second project includes rehabilitation of about 75 km road adjacent to the first project, and construction of an inspection facility that will manage international passenger and freight traffic. It will also continue to improve skills and knowledge of the MTOC staff, begun under Project 1.

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News Release: $55 million ADB loan for CAREC highway linking Kyrgyz Republic and PRC
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