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Bhutan: Poverty alleviation through road development in southern Bhutan

General information
Project location: Dagana District, Bhutan
Consortium: Advance Consulting, Himalaya Engineering & Management Consultants & Gonefel Options Consult
Project Budget: € 21.8 million
External financing: ORIO Facility of Infrastructure Development
Project period: 2009 – 2012

Peter Bleeker and Frank Joosten of Advance Consulting assisted the Royal Government of Bhutan with securing grant support for a road construction project from the ORIO Facility for Infrastructure Development. They prepared the original application in November 2009 and upon approval worked together and coordinated a team of Bhutanese consultants and engineers for the preparation of the actual road designs and the social and environmental impact assessments. In addition Advance Consulting was responsible for the assessment of the economic and development impact and the liaison with the Dutch ORIO programme management in The Hague on behalf of the Department of Roads and the Gross National Happiness Commission in Thimphu, Bhutan.

The construction costs of the new road in the remote Dagana District in Southern Bhutan are budgeted at Euro 21.8 million of which 50% will be ORIO-funded. The road design complies with the Environmentally Friendly Road Construction (EFRC) standards of the Department of Roads. In a landlocked and mountainous country like Bhutan, socio-economic development of the country depends largely on an efficient and reliable road network. The presence of a road network in the rural areas of Southern Bhutan and the resulting connectivity of the rural areas not only reduce the vehicle operating costs and decreases travel time, but also facilitates the broader improvement of other aspects of life such as service delivery, education, health and social relationships. The improvement of transportation infrastructure also leads to increased private sector activity and diversification of the rural economy.

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