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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Dominican Republic National Highway Project

1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
Project Name:
Dominican Republic National Highway Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 122.5  180.91
Dominican Republic
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 75  75
Sector, Major Sect.:
Central government administration, Roads & highways,
Law and justice and public administration; Transportation
Cofinancing (US $M)
 3  0
L/C Number:
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Nordic Development Fund 
Closing Date
12/31/2001 10/31/2003
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
Kavita Mathur
George T. K. Pitman Alain A. Barbu OEDST

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
The first objective of the Project was to improve the transport sector's contribution to the development of major sources of growth and improve access to markets. The second objective was to consolidate the gains in the institutional capacity and enforce new management practices and policies of the Secretariat of State of Public Works and Communications (SEOPC) under the previous loan (Loan 3350) to maintain the road network in a stable condition without continued donor support.

b. Components
The project consisted of following components:

(a) Civil Works (appraisal US$ 88.8 million, actual US$ 161.7 million)

  • Widening existing highway sections to four divided lanes (28.3 km in total) to eliminate congestion along some high-volume sections (about 10,000+ vehicles per day) and a high percentage of trucks (over 20 percent);
  • Construction of 3 new bridges (564 m in total) and deck widening of an existing bridge (102 m), where existing bridges have proven to be bottlenecks within the road network;
  • Reconstruction of 169 km of the highway network;
  • Highway resurfacing of 628 km;
  • Pilot program of routine maintenance by contract along 640 km (13 percent of the network); and
  • Road signalization program by contract including informative signals for connection among roads, itineraries for some destinations, tourist locations, and road services provided to the users.
(b) Civil Work Supervision and Technical Auditing (appraisal US$ 6.4 million, actual US$ 13.9 million)including technical auditing for widening, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of highway and construction of bridges financed by the Project.
(c) Acquisition of Goods (appraisal US$ 1.2 million, actual US$ 0.25 million) including acquisition of all terrain vehicles, spare parts for the operation of existing maintenance equipment, and office equipment (desk-top computers, printers, and photocopy machines).
(d) Consulting Services and Training (appraisal US$ 6.8 million, actual US$ 5.6 million)
  • Coordination of project implementation;
  • Assistance in the use of maintenance systems, in the preparation and monitoring of maintenance contracts, and in implementing a road fund to be managed by a road agency;
  • Advise and training in financial management and internal performance audits;
  • Strengthening the environmental unit of the SEOPC;
  • Establishing a data base on highway accident statistics;
  • Preparation of future investment programs in the transport sector;
  • Preparation of a drainage and sanitation plan in the city of Santo Domingo to complement the urban transport study financed by Loan 3350; and
  • Preparation of a feasibility study of the widening to four lanes and subsequent maintenance for the concession of the Santo Domingo-Baní Highway.
Project components were not revised. However, project resources were reallocated to for urgent reconstruction of road segments and bridges damaged by Hurricane Georges (1998).

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
The Project was approved by the Board on December 19, 1996 and the Loan Agreement was signed on January 17, 1997. However, the Government approval was delayed and the Loan was not declared effective until November 10, 1997, eleven months after Bank’s approval.The project was granted three extensions - first was due to eleven month delay in effectiveness; second was just for a month, and the third was to complete the road and bridge components. The project closed almost two years after the original closing date.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

The first objective of improving the transport sector conditions to facilitate the development of major sources of growth and improving access to markets was substantially achieved.
  • The total road network in good condition increased from 69% in 1995 to 83% in 2003. For the paved road network, the network in good condition increased from 81% to 95% for the same period.
  • Road widening and rehabilitation has decreased traffic congestion, and average speed increased to 75 kilometer/hour.
  • Vehicle Operation Costs (VOC) were reduced from U$0.33 to US$0.22 per vehicle-kilometer.
  • Road safety works such as road signalization, installation of safety barriers "black spots" improvements were carried out to improve road safety. An accident information system was also developed.

The second objective of consolidating the gains in the institutional capacity and enforcing the new management practices and policies of the SEOPC to maintain the road network in a stable condition without continued donor support was modestly achieved.
  • A new financial management system was put in place. This has resulted in better accounting controls, easier preparation of disbursement requests and audits and better project financial reporting.
  • The capacity of SOPEC to carry out maintenance by contract was strengthened. Despite initial problems, contracts for comprehensive maintenance of about 630 km were concluded satisfactorily.
  • SEOPC's capacity to address environmental issues associated with roads has been strengthened.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

Two major highways, Santo Domingo-Samaná (US$120 million) and Santo Domingo-La Romana (US$100 million) have been awarded and are underway. In 2002 the SEOPC started a concession program, where the concessionaire finances and carry out improvements to parts of the roads concessioned and conducts necessary maintenance over the life of the concession. The concessions are awarded for a 30-year period and the concessionaire is entitled to collect the revenues from toll on the roads.
  • A Road Condition Survey was conducted to collect data on the condition of the network to prepare a rehabilitation and maintenance program.

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

    Lack of sustainable/stable mechanism for financing road maintenance. A road maintenance fund to ensure maintenance financing beyond project implementation was not enacted by government. Also a provisional measure (requested by the Bank as a condition to grant the second / third extension) to establish a Road Maintenance Account, administered by the SEOPC was not be implemented. The ICR notes that the maintenance resources were allocated and awarded in an ad-hoc manner, without a proper maintenance strategy and planning. Moreover, the effectiveness in the use of resources was further hampered by lack of an appropriate procurement process for some of the works financed solely by the government budget.
  • The project did not include measures to strengthen the regulatory capacity which is critical for effective monitoring and enforcement of concessions.
  • There was poor coordination of programs and projects carried out by different institutions outside the SEOPC - the Office of Supervision of State Works (OSOE) - and between units inside the institution (Directorate of Traffic (DGTT), Directorate of Works Supervision (DGSFO), Directorate of Maintenance (DGM), and the Project Coordinating Team (PCT)).
  • Implementation of civil works contracts faced substantial delays in provision of counterpart funding, and slow procurement approval process.
  • Road widening and reconstruction program was completed at lower engineering standards.
  • 6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
    SatisfactoryModerately Satisfactory[The ICR's 4-point scale does not allow for a Moderately Satisfactory rating]. The project achieved its first objective substantially. However, the second objective was achieved modestly with significant shortcomings (see sections 3 and 5).
    Institutional Dev.:
    Bank Performance:
    Highly SatisfactorySatisfactoryThe Bank Performance has been rated "Satisfactory" instead of "Highly Satisfactory" because while considerable attention was focussed on adapting the lending program to carry out emergency works due to Hurricane Georges, measures to strengthen the regulatory capacity were not incorporated in the project design.
    Borrower Perf.:
    SatisfactorySatisfactoryThe ICR and ES rates Borrower Performance as Marginally Satisfactory (the ICR's and ES 4-point scale does not allow for this rating).
    Quality of ICR:

    7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

    A passive approach to funding maintenance is less effective than a development of coherent framework/plan for maintenance financing.
    • Adequate coordination among the institutions involved in project implementation is critical for successful project outcomes.
    • Medium sized contractors are not interested in routine maintenance. Therefore, these types of contracts should be designed for small contractors with short lengths of the road network and contract period.

    8. Audit Recommended?  No


    9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

    The ICR is comprehensive and balanced. It provides a thorough analysis of project implementation and adequately discusses project shortcomings. Annex tables on outcome and performance indicators provides wealth of data. A discussion on safeguards compliance would have been useful.

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