The Lebanon Roads and Employment Project’s development objectives are to (1) improve transport connectivity along select paved road sections; and (2) to create short term jobs for Lebanese and Syrians. Given that Lebanon is being continuously exposed to sizable political and security shocks that fundamentally alter conditions across different sectors—including governance, infrastructure, and the macro-economy—the country has developed a two-pronged approach aimed at programs to stimulate the economy and create jobs, while also meeting Lebanon’s longer term developmental needs in the infrastructure sectors in particular.
The road network in Lebanon is lacking due to years of underinvestment and inefficient spending; this has resulted in a large maintenance backlog, a serious deterioration in road quality, and costly repairs. The crucial need for road infrastructure development runs parallel as a source of employment for low skilled Lebanese and Syrians in Lebanon.
Investing in the rehabilitation of the road network in Lebanon should lead to several important results: (1) it should meet the development needs of the Lebanese economy and strengthen the government presence and its commitments to lagging regions; (2) it should allow for the quick injection of investments to stimulate the economy and contribute to political stability and social cohesion; and (3) it should provide substantial direct and indirect employment opportunities for low skilled Lebanese and Syrians in the poorer communities; and (4) the benefit to both the Lebanese host communities and the Syrian refugees in terms of improved access to markets and services should be quantifiable; and (5) it can have wide coverage in different regions of Lebanon and therefore benefiting a wide spectrum of communities.
1. Roads Rehabilitation and Maintenance
This component will finance works for the rehabilitation and maintenance of about 500 km of primary, secondary, and tertiary roads, including road safety and spot improvements. These investments should improve transport connectivity and create direct and indirect jobs for Lebanese and Syrians. The financing for this is estimated at 150 million USD and will be financed under about 15 different local contracts, ranging in value between 5 million USD and 15 million USD. It will also finance the piloting of multi-year routine maintenance contracts.
2. Improving Road Emergency Response Capacity
Lebanon is a mountainous country that has been witnessing more extreme events with shorter yet more severe winters and snow periods. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) has an insufficient number of vehicles for snow removal, with most of the equipment being outdated. This component is therefore meant to improve the capacity of the MPWT to deal with road emergency works, especially those induced by snow and climate extremes. It will finance the purchase of 15 wheel loaders, 10 snow blowers, 5 salt spreaders, and 10 four wheel drive vehicles. It will also assist in revising the existing emergency procedures of MPWT, and its capacity to plan for extreme weather events including the timely and proper mobilization and dispatching of its equipment. This component could benefit from support from disaster risk management and climate adaption funds.
3. Capacity Building and Implementation Support
This component is meant to build capacity of the Lebanese agencies in the planning and management of the road sector. It will contribute to the training and capacity building of contractors and workers on new and improved road construction and maintenance techniques. It will finance consultancy services, and related software and IT equipment, to support: (1) the strengthening of road asset management by financing the creation of a road asset database for the trunk network in Lebanon, the collection of information for the database, and the revision of design and maintenance standards to reflect climate conditions; (2) the planning and implementation of road safety measures, which will primarily benefit the Secretariat of the National Road Safety Council, finance the elaboration of a national strategy and action plan on road safety, and implement select priority road safety measures; (3) the planning and design of transport projects identified as priorities by the Lebanese governments; (4) training for workers and small contractors, including soft-skills as well as technical skills; (5) overseeing project implementation by hiring required experts to properly undertake the implementation and monitoring of the project.