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Mauritius: Second Highway Project (Loan 3132-MAS)

The Implementation Completion Report (ICR) on the Mauritius Second Highway project (Loan 3132-MAS, approved in FY90) was prepared by the Africa Regional Office, with Appendix B contributed by the Borrower and was reviewed by the Operations Evaluation Department (OED). The loan for US$30 million was approved on May 10, 1989, and closed on June 30, 1995, as planned. US$21,500 was canceled.

The project's objectives were to: (i) keep existing roads in good repair and lengthen their service life; (ii) strengthen the Ministry of Works (MOW) capacity for road maintenance planning and management, including traffic management; and (iii) establish effective vehicle safety and emission control standards and procedures. The project consisted of: (i) a program to rehabilitate and resurface main roads; (ii) a four-year program of routine maintenance; (iii) improvement in traffic management and control of axle loads; and (iv) technical assistance for the establishment of vehicle safety and emission control standards.

The project achieved its objectives. The quantity of resurfacing work completed was less than planned because of increased unit costs, but the quality of work was good and the shortfall in quantity was completed using local financing. The MOW completed the routine maintenance program. The economic rate of return of 21 to 46 percent -vs. 21 to 30 percent at appraisal- is highly satisfactory. A road fund was established and adequately provisioned to cover future maintenance although this was not a project objective. Improvements in traffic management and safety standards were made and a vehicle emission control program is being established. The comprehensive action program, initially proposed for traffic management and emission control, proved to be too ambitious in light of MOW's absorptive capacity; a more realistic incremental improvement program was effectively implemented instead.

In agreement with the ICR, OED rates the project's outcome as satisfactory, its institutional development impact as moderate, and sustainability as likely. Bank performance is rated as satisfactory.

One lesson learned is that developing new legislation and methods for traffic pollution control is a complex matter. Therefore, more experienced consultants should have been employed to assist in the vehicle emission control component. Another lesson learned is that the use of a pavement management system that monitors and continuously updates all relevant data from surveys on road conditions and road use would greatly enhance the planning for periodic resurfacing programs.

The ICR is satisfactory. No audit is planned.

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