The World Bank has sanctioned a loan of $ 350 million to expedite the process of highway development in Karnataka.

The Second Karnataka State Highway Improvement Project (KSHIP II) will finance double-laning in 1,231 km of roads, besides improving road safety design, management and enforcement to reduce road fatalities, the World Bank said in a statement.

“This loan...will help the Government of Karnataka leverage private sector financing through economically viable Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in accelerating the development of their State highways,” Finance Ministry’s Department of Economic Affairs Joint Secretary Venu Rajamony said in the statement.

The developmental assistance, approved yesterday, will be used as additional finance for the second Karnataka State Highway Improvement Project (KSHIP II).

“While Karnataka has made impressive economic progress... the acceleration of the road development program and attention to road safety as envisaged in this project will help the State realise faster social and economic benefits and spur more investments,” World Bank Country Director in India Roberto Zagha said.

The KSHIP II project follows the KSHIP I, implemented from 2001 to 2007, which has improved and maintained 2,385 km of State Highways and major district roads.

The Karnataka government has identified about 25,000 km of the most important traffic corridors and designated them as the State’s core road network.

However, 39 per cent of the core road network requires improvement to bring it into good or fair condition, according to a road condition survey.

Karnataka accounts for 10 per cent of the total road accident cases in India.

The number of fatalities has increased by 55 per cent since 2000 to reach a rate of 140 per 100,000 vehicles in 2009 compared with rates like nine in the UK, 15 in USA and 70 in Brazil and China, the survey said.

“The high fatality rate in Karnataka is attributed to a lack of effective road safety management and enforcement system”, a World Bank release said.

The loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 5-year grace period, and a maturity period of 18 years.