The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$150 million loan to improve the efficiency and safety of road transport in Mongolia.
The Regional Road Development and Maintenance Project (Phase 3) will improve state road network sections between provincial capitals in Western Mongolia, focusing on Altai to Uliastai and Khovd to Ulaangom, to enhance local and regional connectivity.
“The western region particularly suffers from slow growth because of its remoteness from the country’s political and economic centres, and unpaved state roads connecting aimag (provincial) capitals,” says ADB senior transport specialist Nicolas Dei Castelli. “Aside from improving road conditions, the project will strengthen sustainable and climate-resilient road maintenance practices, and road safety.”
Land transport and road network development are challenging in Mongolia because of the long distances and severe weather. Poor road conditions, especially in the rural areas, restrict access to markets, education, and services, which in turn worsens poverty and inequality.
Out of Mongolia’s road network of 111,943 kilometres, only 10,242 km are paved. The road network is vulnerable to extreme weather events such as flooding and landslides, which make roads and bridges impassable for long periods.
The project’s total cost is US$158 million, with US$8 million in counterpart financing from the government. It is expected to be completed in 2029.
Long distances and severe weather make land transport and road network development challenging in Mongolia. Photo: ADB