Since independence, very little improvement to the road network has taken place in Timor-Leste, other than some work on the main road between Dili and the Indonesian border with West Timor, as well as some emergency repairs—largely the result of frequent landslides. According to a road condition survey in 2009, the national road network has almost entirely deteriorated and is no longer maintainable. Many roads are often impassable during the rainy season due to landslides and general road failures, owing mostly to a lack of maintenance. In addition, many roads lack sufficient drainage capacity and are structurally unsound. Consequently, communities are increasingly becoming isolated, vehicle operating and freight costs are growing, and journey times are rising.
The first component of the project is Climate Resilient Road Infrastructure. This work will be done in two phases:
- Urgent Road Infrastructure Repairs. The objective of this phase is to repair badly damaged road and drainage structures along the entire Dili-Ainaro corridor to prevent further failure or deterioration of the road, and to allow more extensive rehabilitation to be designed, procured and mobilised.
- Road Improvement. This will rehabilitate parts of the road between Dili and Aituto, with improvements to drainage and other environmental protection measures along selected sections of the corridor.
The second component is Climate Responsive Maintenance and Emergency Planning and Response Systems. This component ensures the sustainability of road infrastructure investments through maintenance and emergency response systems.
The third component is Project Support and Training. This component includes support to the Project Management Unit, established by the Asian Development Bank, and a training program for Ministry of Infrastructure and other government staff, as well as contractors, aimed at improving skills related to maintaining mountainous roads and providing emergency responses.
The International Development Association contributes US$20 million to the Road Climate Resilience Project and the Government of Timor-Leste contributes US$3 million.
The project will be implemented by the Timor-Leste Ministry of Infrastructure.
Toward the Future
The project was approved in May 2011 and planned to be completed in December 2015. Once rehabilitated, the roads will benefit residents of rural areas by reducing road closures due to flooding or damage caused by heavy rainfall. These closures directly affect incomes and access to health and education facilities, negatively impacting on the development of the country. With improved roads, hospitals and schools will be more easily reached, and farmers will be able to expand and diversify their agricultural production through better contact with local and regional markets and towns.