The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has announced the approval of a US$55.4mn loan to support the second phase of a programme to rebuild, rehabilitate and upgrade roads in rural areas of El Salvador.


The programme, which is being carried out by the ministry of public works, transportation, housing and urban development, seeks to improve part of El Salvador’s tertiary road network in order to better serve rural communities, raise their standard of living and revitalise agriculture.


A US$58mn IADB loan has supported the first phase of the programme. The resources helped El Salvador rebuild close to 103km of 10 roads damaged by two major earthquakes in 2001 and rehabilitate or upgrade 11 roads covering 195km. Work is being done on two more roads covering 41km. Three other projects for a total 53km are in the bidding process.


The programme has also supported the modernisation of the vice-ministry of public works (VMOP) as the agency in charge of regulation, planning and supervision of national transportation infrastructure. During the first phase, VMOP’s capabilities for road planning, environmental and social impact assessment, project execution and quality control and administration and financial management were strengthened.


Additionally, the programme helped consolidate the then recently established FOVIAL road maintenance fund, which is financed with a 20-cent per gallon fuel tax. In 2005, the fund has allocated some US$71.4mn to contract 78 construction firms and 44 other companies for maintenance on roads, bridges and crossings as well as on pavement markings and signage.