Peru receives multi-million dollar loan to improve national highways

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications has received a $150 million loan from the World Bank  for a project aimed at improving Peru’s highways. The Safe and Sustainable Transportation project, announced on Thursday, includes the restoration of more than 1,300 miles of highway through medium term, results-based maintenance contracts aimed at reducing travel time and traffic accidents.

“This operation will optimize the transportation conditions for passengers and the national highway networks which are essential for Peru’s competitiveness,” said Transportation and Communications Minister Enrique Cornejo.

The project will also include institutional and regulation support, road safety infrastructure, and employment for Peru’s rural poor by providing work opportunities on national road corridors.

The projects restoration component will improve at least four national highway networks. These are the Ayacucho to Abancay highway, the Llama to Cochabama highway, the Cochabamba to Chota highway and the highway between Puente Reither, Puente Paucartambo and Villarica.

“With this project we are trying to support the government to reduce traffic-related deaths,” said the World Bank’s regional director for Boliva, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, Felipe Jaramillo.

In Peru – where the high number of severe car and bus accidents is notorious – many of the vehicles are old, drivers reckless, and the roads often in a bad state. In the past several years, an average of 3,500 people died and 40,000 others were injured every year as a result of car or bus accidents.

One of the deadliest accidents to occur recently happened last Christmas when a bus carrying mostly Quechua farmers and merchants lost control on a remote mountain highway and plunged 250 feet into a ravine in Peru’s southern Andes. Forty-two people were killed.

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