Research

Roads

  • All weather, serviceable roads provide the greatest short- and medium-term potential for broader development among the Resource Corridor investments, given their easier access and connection to rural areas.  They are essential in the operation of mining centers, servicing of electricity grids and transportation of mining products.

  • Since 2002 there have been substantial investments in the road network in Afghanistan. Several key segments of the Resource Corridor have newly built roads, and others have some new roads but missing links.

  • Maintenance though has lagged, and is critical. Investment in the development and rehabilitation of roads can be futile in the absence of effective maintenance mechanisms supported by appropriate institutional and legislative structures.  A positive development has been the agreement of the ARTF Operation & Maintenance (O&M) funding window and another has been the approval by Government of a fuel levy to provide further maintenance funds.   However institutional and procedural reforms should be put in place in order to build on the gains made hitherto.

  • The Resource Corridor initiative calls for a substantial and accelerated reform plan to enable maintenance of critical road links.  A practical approach could begin by contracting out O&M, gradually reducing reliance on force account maintenance, while developing the domestic road construction industry.

  • The Salang Pass is one of the most crucial road assets and segments in the country.  Its development, rehabilitation and serviceability are pivotal to maintaining connectivity between the north and the south.  It currently faces challenges related to reparation works done as well as level of service and safety (ventilation-lighting and power generation) at the operation of the tunnel.

  • A feasibility study for new tunnel and road sections was completed during 2012, and a World Bank project to finance a bypass road from Doshi to Bamyan is about to start its preparation.  Other development partners are also funding the short- and medium-term rehabilitation of the Salang tunnel.

  • The northern corridor will facilitate transportation of oil and gas products from Amu Darya as well as future connections to the Afghan-Tajik oil and gas basin and their respective oil and gas facilities. Maintenance of the newly-built A76 will be critical, particularly as oil trucks begin to travel down it in increasing numbers.

  • Copper deposits in Aynak, North Aynak and Zarkashan require the roads serving these areas are rehabilitated and a well maintained.  The most critical need is to accelerate the rehabilitation and upgrade of the Jalalabad-Torkham road and to complete the construction of selected provincial and rural roads in the copper areas of the South.

Updated September 10, 2013