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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Fifth Roads Rehabilitation and Maintenance Project

1. Project Data:   
Project ID:
Project Name:
Fifth Roads Rehabilitation and Maintenance Project
Dominican Republic
Highways, Transportation
L/C Number:
Partners Involved:
Prepared By:
Antti P. Talvitie, OEDST
Reviewed By:
Hernan Levy
Group Manager:
Roger H. Slade
Date Posted:

2. Project Objectives, Financing, Costs, and Components:

Objectives: (a) Bring the highway network to acceptable operating standards; (b) improve the institutional capacity of the Secretariat of Public Works and Communications (SEOPC); (c) increase the availability of road maintenance equipment; (d) improve the quality of pavements and pavement construction techniques; and (e) strengthen the domestic construction industry. Components: (i) Rehabilitation of 830 km of roads; (ii) a program of periodic maintenance executed by private contractors; (iii) a workshop reconstruction program; (iv) equipment rehabilitation including purchase of spare parts; (v) road signs and markings and vehicle weight control; (vi) technical assistance and training in pavement technology, equipment operation, road maintenance and project management and studies for road inventories, urban transport and construction industry. Costs: The total project costs were US$126.8million (US$105.5million at appraisal) of which the Bank financed US$79million. The project was approved in FY91 and closed fully disbursed in FY98 one year later than scheduled.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

The project objectives were achieved. The highway network was brought to much higher operating condition; the percentage of asphalt roads in good condition rose from 53% to 81%, and the percentage of the total network in good condition, paved and unpaved, doubled to 65%. Institutional capacity of the SEOPC improved markedly. This is evidenced by the increased road user charges that now cover the road costs, successfully implemented private sector entry to road maintenance market, and improved planning, project management and contracting practices. Equipment availability did improve despite difficulties and occasional setbacks. Pavement quality became better through successfully implemented "Program for the Transfer of Technologies Using Surface Treatments and Thin Asphalt Overlays." Finally, the construction industry was strengthened by the ICB-based technology transfer initiatives and improved prequalification process. The cost overrun was due to shortcomings in initial designs and delays in project effectiveness. The higher costs reduced the reestimated ERR to 19 percent vs. 43 percent estimated at appraisal. Travel time savings were not quantified in the ERR estimates.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

The project's most significant achievement was to begin transforming SEOPC into a competent professional organization and led to outstanding project implementation, construction and pavement quality, technology transfer, and project management. The plan for future operations includes consolidation of the institutional gains and the technical improvements achieved in the project as well as extending the institutional development strategy.

5. Significant Shortcomings (include non-compliance with safeguard features):

6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
Institutional Dev.:
Bank Performance:
SatisfactoryHighly Satisfactory
    The upgrading is made on account of project supervision which was continuous, relevant, client-oriented and effective.
Borrower Perf.:
Quality of ICR:

7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

There are two transferable lessons. First, the importance of supervision. Not unlike in any project, there were setbacks, difficulties and delays during implementation. But unlike many projects, these difficulties were investigated, addressed, learnt from and corrective actions taken. This seems to have rested on the fundamentally sound relationship that was developed between the Bank and the borrower. Second, consultant assignments and foreign contractors can, and should, be used as a means for training local professionals.

8. Audit Recommended?  Yes

          Why?  To learn from the supervision processes and techniques used in order to "mainstream" the (above) lessons learned. Another issue is project sustainability after the eventual change in the task manager or when the project(s) end; the effects of termination merit observation and study.

9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR is of good quality. Its most interesting parts relate to project supervision which would have deserved a more thorough discussion of why it succeeded so well. The ICR laments too much the delays (for whatever reason) and shortcomings in road designs and their effects on costs rather than seeing them as reflections of prevailing institutional capacity that needed corrective actions (which were eventually taken).

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