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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Road Maintenance Project


  
1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
08/04/2005   
PROJ ID:
P064821
Appraisal
Actual
Project Name:
Road Maintenance Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 47.8  42.4
Country:
Laos
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 25  26.6
Sector, Major Sect.:
Central government administration, Roads & highways,
Law and justice and public administration; Transportation
Cofinancing (US $M)
 6.3  7.4
L/C Number:
C3481      
   
Board Approval (FY)
  1
Partners involved
Nordic Development Fund; Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). 
Closing Date
12/31/2004 12/31/2004
         
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
Kavita Mathur
Peter Nigel Freeman Alain A. Barbu OEDSG

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
The objective of the project had two parts: (i) to develop and implement financing and management systems for the sustainable maintenance of the National Road Network (NRN) countrywide; and (ii) to design and test (in four selected provinces) financing and management systems for the sustainable road maintenance of the Local Road Network (LRN).

b. Components
Part A: Preservation of the Road Network Through Civil Works. (appraisal US$45.8 million, actual US$40.8 million ) This component consisted of the following three sub-components: periodic maintenance and rehabilitation works; routine maintenance and emergency works; and development and implementation of a national strategy to reduce overloading on the road network.

Part B: Building Institutional Capacity. (appraisal US$2.0 million, actual US$ 1.6 million) This component consisted of the following sub-components to: complete establishment of road management system to cover all aspects of the road planning process for the NRN and LRN; assist implementation of the road maintenance fund; improve project preparation, execution and monitoring; develop strategy to improve performance of local contracting and consulting industry; and foster the involvement of the road users and beneficiaries in the delivery and management of road maintenance activities.

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
At appraisal, the total project costs were estimated at US$47.8 million, of which the IDA Credit was to finance US$25 million equivalent. Due to exchange rate fluctuations, IDA ultimately financed US$26.6 million of the US$42.35 million total project completion cost. The Credit closed as scheduled on December 31, 2004.


3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

The objective to develop and implement financing and management systems for the sustainable maintenance of NRN was fully achieved.
  • To improve financing for road maintenance, the government established the Road Maintenance Fund (RMF), to be financed by road user charges and managed by an advisory board with representation from road users. In FY 2002/2003, the total revenues of RMF were Kip 26.7 billion. For FY 2003/2004, following the 50 percent increase in the fuel levy the total revenues were Kip 37 billion, which was equal to the total expenditure on maintenance. At project closing, the RMF was funding all NRN routine maintenance activities, including substantial periodic maintenance of the NRN counterpart funding and 10% of the maintenance needs of LRN.
  • The project developed a Road Management System (RMS) for the entire national road network. The RMS integrates several modules (pavement management system, routine maintenance management system, bridge management system, and a monitoring and evaluation system) for analyzing a comprehensive collection of data on the national network.
  • Technical assistance, on the job training, studies abroad and training courses were provided to strengthen the capacity of the staff at central and provincial level. Four hundred thirty four staff from both Ministry of Communications, Transport, Post and Construction (MCTPC) (322 staff) and provincial authorities (112 staff) completed an array of training and capacity enhancement activities. Nearly one-fourth of the training activities were for technical skills development, including high-level coursework on road construction, road safety, and routine maintenance programs.
The objective to design and test (in four selected provinces) financing and management systems for the sustainable road maintenance of the LRN was substantially achieved. Although the provincial Road Maintenance Management System (PRoMMS) was tested in pilot provinces, it is still in the process of development. Also, the Participatory Rural Transport Planning for road prioritization and the Community Road Models (CRM) are still under development for its use in LRN. Not all of the technical assistance was utilized because it was either duplicated in a parallel project or unnecessary after internal managerial arrangements were strengthened.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

The project substantially exceeded the targets for civil works for periodic and routine maintenance. For periodic maintenance on NRN, the actual works completed were 1,938 km compared to 1,100 km estimated at appraisal.For the LRN, the project completed 855 km of periodic maintenance, compared to 300 km at appraisal. For routine maintenance, on national roads 19,343 kms were completed compared to 12,477 kms. For local roads, of the planned maintenance on 2,750 km of the four selected Provinces, 6,000 km were completed.
  • The incidence of overloading was significantly reduced from 91% to 28% through axle load control program and Heavy Transport Management Program (HTMP) to inspect and detect overloading of heavy vehicles.
  • The development of the Road Management System has provided the Ministry of Communications, Transport, Post and Construction (MCTPC) with a strong analytical framework and supporting data for preparing estimates of future investment needs and inventories of road, bridge and traffic conditions.

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

The quality of maintenance works was in some cases below expected standards, revealing sub-standard construction materials as the primary culprit, as well as poor construction practices and shortcomings relating to works supervision.
  • The performance of the RMF Secretariat and Advisory Board was moderate. More training and capacity building was required for MCTPC staff administering the RMF and those road administrations receiving money from the RMF. The RMF advisor resigned due to poor health and no action was taken to appoint a replacement for the remainder of the project. Twinning arrangements with similar road fund organizations did not take place.
  • The long-term strategy for strengthening performance of the local contracting and consulting industry was not prepared.
  • 6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
    Outcome:
    SatisfactorySatisfactory
    Institutional Dev.:
    SubstantialSubstantial
    Sustainability:
    Highly LikelyHighly Likely
    Bank Performance:
    SatisfactorySatisfactory
    Borrower Perf.:
    SatisfactorySatisfactory
    Quality of ICR:
    Satisfactory

    7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

    To make maintenance of road assets a priority, a paradigm shift in Government policy is required where the preservation of the existing network receives priority over its expansion. A passive approach to funding maintenance is less effective than a development of coherent framework/plan for maintenance financing.
    • To discourage overloading and subsequent damage to road network, appropriate axle load legislation needs to be passed but the key to effective control of overloading is very good traffic law enforcement.
    • The effectiveness of capacity building is greatly enhanced by strong internal leadership which encourages ownership and responsibility - this can sometimes be more effective than technical assistance.

    8. Audit Recommended?  Yes

              Why?  To conduct a sector-wide evaluation to assess the impact of this project and the previous three highways sub-sector projects funded by IDA. In particular, the continued sustainability of the Road Fund and the further development of the local contracting industry will be evaluated.

    9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

    The ICR provides a good description of the project's design and implementation and discusses issues candidly. It provides adequate data for project evaluation. More information about the reasoning why some technical assistance was not utilized could have been mentioned.

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