The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has lent $25 million in loan for Barbados to develop a robust road infrastructure that can improve road safety as well as investment climate.
These primary roads – the ABC Highway and the Charles Duncan O’Neal Highway – connect Barbados’ tourist, industrial, and business areas with the Bridgetown Port and the Grantley Adams International Airport.
In addition to rebuilding some of these major thoroughfares, Barbados will construct drainage and sidewalks and rehabilitate associated bridges and culverts. The bank has also suggested to the local administration that it outsource road maintenance to private companies. Barbados will now test whether outsourcing such works will work for the country.
The IDB’s goal is to help the Caribbean country adopt a better method of governing transport sector. Analysts say this road network supports transportation for Barbados’ productive sectors, which consists primarily of tourism, light manufacturing, quarrying, and agriculture.
The project will also help improve transport sector planning and road maintenance financing. “This project will contribute to sustainable growth in the Barbadian economy through interventions to rationalize and improve public sector efficiency and by supporting private sector participation and development through greater involvement in the transport sector,” the bank stated in a press release.
In the last 15 years, the number of motor vehicles has increased rapidly in Barbados. The growing volume of traffic on the roads, especially at peak periods, is a cause of increasing public concern. This has worsened local transport logistics and has increased the number of road accidents; and indirectly, the loss of man-hours and quality of life – all of which are important to a tourism-focused economy.
Thanks to the credit crunch and widening budget deficit, Barbados was left with no option but to seek external financing to keep its roads in good condition.