Allahabad Bypass Building Project Construction Essay

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ABP was the third World Bank funded project to support the National Highway Development Program (NHDP). This project along with two other projects - Third National Highway Project (TNHP) and Grand Trunk Road Improvement Project (GTRIP) - was aimed at upgrading the National Highway 2 (NH2) between Delhi and Kolkata.

Key Performance Indicators

Following were the KPIs to measure the achievement of the development objective by End of Project (EOP): (i) truck operating costs reduction by at least 10% by EOP; (ii) vehicle travel time along the project corridor reduction by at least 30% by EOP; (iii) increased private sector participation in the operations and maintenance of national highway; (iv) road safety records improvement on projects roads; and (v) conducting user satisfaction surveys on a regular basis.

The KPIs used during project implementation were: (i) civil work contracts including Environmental Management Plans to be delivered to time, budget, cost and safety requirements; (ii) Resettlement Action Plan to be implemented on time and satisfactorily; and (iii) road user satisfaction surveys to be implemented according to agreed timetable and in expected effect

Project Components

Bypass Construction

This component funded the construction of the 84.7 km bypass, which passes through the northern outskirts of Allahabad City. The bypass is an access controlled highway, with a 1 km bridge over the Ganga River. Toll plazas and rest areas are also provided.

Corridor Management

This component funded the procurement and hiring of private operators for operating and maintaining the road, and procuring and installing the traffic management and toll collection systems.

Institutional Strengthening

This component dealt with the funding of surveys of road users and other stakeholders during the project period, to gauge the level of their awareness, management and operation of national highways by NHAI, and involvement and satisfaction with the delivery,

Environment Assessment

The main environmental issues that the project faced were: (i) poorly planned or managed development induced by the presence of a high quality transport facility; (ii) potential impediments to area level and local drainage as the major portion of the bypass was on a fresh high embankment; (iii) unavoidable conversion of fertile agricultural land to the right of way (ROW); (iv) unavoidable removal and shifting of community assets from the entire ROW and severance of some communities; (v) impact on aquatic flora and fauna in the river Ganga; and (vi) construction related temporary impacts such as dust from the haul roads and pollution from the plants and machinery required for construction.

Project Implementation

The lessons learned from the past two projects - TNHP and GTRIP - were reflected in the design of ABP in three ways:

Weakness in the areas of financial management, and environment and social safeguard capacity identified during TNHP and GTRIP were addressed in ABP

Land acquisition, and the implementation of Resettlement Action Plan and Environment Management Plan, which proved bottle neck for the last two projects, were closely monitored and a strong process was followed during ABP

Planned disbursement schedule was followed wherein low-value work was completed in the first phase and high-value in the second phase

NHAI was the implementing agency for the bypass construction, corridor management component, and road user surveys. At the field level, and on-site Project Implementation Unit (PIU) existed which consisted of the same those companies which did civil works for its last two projects - THNP and GTRIP. The state level monitoring committee which was functional for TNHP and GTRIP facilitated resettlement, land acquisition, and tree cutting and re-plantation, etc. for the bypass. Responsibility for land acquisition and resettlement and financing of all project-related costs will remain with NHAI.

NHAI followed decentralized accounting system for the project. The contracts and expenditures, day-to-day project activities, project transaction accounts, and financial management system data entry, authorization and payment were managed by the PIUs at the filed level. All civil works were supervised by independent construction consultants. The duties of the consultant included checking contractor's bills in addition to ensuring quality control. The bills were re-checked by NHAI's technical and accounts staff before disbursement. At NHAI headquarters a team of finance professionals coordinated the consolidation and submission of reimbursement claims for the project. The financial aspects of the project were managed using a computerized integrated financial management system (FMS). Project related expenditures were thoroughly scrutinized by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

The project design, scope and costs were changed to better utilize the funds:

Corridor Management component was excluded

The funds for Corridor Management was reallocated to Bypass Construction

Project cost was revised to reflect the changes (Table 2)

Table 2 Component wise reallocation (source: World Bank)

Project Outcome

The closing date proposed by the World Bank was by 30th June, 2009. According the NHAI website (http://www.nhai.org/completednh8.asp), the bypass has be completed and opened to traffic by 30th November, 2009.

Benefits to the Target Population

The major benefits included: (i) a reduction in transport costs, which was beneficial regional trade and private business growth; (ii) a reduction of motor vehicle pollution and traffic accidents in the built-up area of Allahabad city; (iii) improved efficiencies in the utilization of public resources in the form of higher level of output per unit agency cost; and (iv) greater participation of private sector in the provision of highway infrastructure and services.

The project benefited to the users of the national highways, the city of Allahabad, and rural areas directly served by the project road, mostly in the form of: (i) reduced transport costs and travel time; (ii) increased accessibility to resources, markets, jobs, health services, and education; (iii) improved security against economic shocks through access to alternative jobs and to emergency services.

The cost benefit had an NPV of US$ 554 million with an ERR of 32%. The fiscal impact of the project was minimal, as GOI had made budget commitment to the NHDP based on road user charges and necessary policy provision to NHAI to tap other financial sources.

Social Development Outcomes

The significant social development outcomes of the project were mainly in the form of improved transport efficiency, better access to markets and resources, better road safety, improved social interaction of the areas served by the highway with other part of the country. For the project area, the bypass facilitated the movement of goods and services, and enhanced people's ability to access markets, non-farm jobs, services and information. Better access to markets and jobs significantly increased the economic opportunities, thereby increasing the rural incomes and thus contributed to poverty reduction. The project achieved positive social outcomes, and minimized and mitigated adverse social impacts.

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