Rural Road Maintenance, Sustaining the Benefits of Improved Access

Socio-Economic Technical Papers (SETP) No. 19

Rural roads are the last link of the transport network, however, they often form the most important link in terms of providing access for the rural population. The permanent or seasonal absence of road access can act as a constraining factor in terms of providing rural communities with services such as education, primary health case, water supply, local markets as well as economic opportunities. The availability of such services and opportunities are only sustained when the rural road network is maintained at certain operational standards that provides the regular and efficient transport access required throughout the year. Lack of finance has traditionally been the main excuse or reason for rural roads not being maintained. Rather than giving maintenance its due recognition and prioritising funding of maintenance of existing roads, the trend is often to spend available funds on expanding the road network. However, the problems of rural road maintenance are not uniquely related to finance. There are als