With forecasts that the Yangon population will double to 10 million in 25 years The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has proposed two underground railway lines for Yangon to help ease transportation in the years ahead.
Forecasts show even larger growth in vehicle use on Yangon’s roads. They explain that in Bangkok there was never a transport plan, which has resulted in the problems the city faces today and Yangon should plan now for the future.
Last month $821m was confirmed as investment from Japan in the form of low interest loans to develop the Myanmar transport infrastructure. Already $202m has been tagged to upgrade the circular line of Yangon via JICA, who have also confirmed provision of loans totalling $40m. The funding will also be used to develop national electricity supplies and road links to Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. Publications of Tenders for these projects are expected shortly.
The rail improvements will also include stations, commercial sites and also upgrades to the rail signalling infrastructure. Work is due to start this year.
JICA has considerable experience in this sector with many examples of these types of projects. 2013 saw announcements from JICA in India with investment and construction of a dedicated freight rail line between Delhi and Mumbai, plus also metro line projects as well as other large transportation and urban improvement projects.