1.1 Back Ground of the studyRoad infrastructure is paramount in facilitating transport and is the base of any developed economy, as they constitute the heart of the supply chain. Roads are the crucial link between producers and their markets, further a dense road network guarantees better access to customers.When transport infrastructure is efficient, it provides various economic and social opportunities that result in positive multiplier effects such as better accessibility to markets, employment, education, health and additional investments (Oosterhaven and Knaap 2000).
Roads are viewed as a means of socio-economic development because they link people and socio-economic activities. Filani (2000) while examining the importance of transportation posited that, a nation that plays with its road transport development undermines the major engine that propels socio-economic, integration and development. Road transport gives opportunities for individual mobility and better quality of life, and an inevitable sector to the social and economic development of our communities. In a wide body of literature, researchers have supported the relationship between road infrastructure investments and a society’s social and economic development (Akhmetzhanoy&Lustoy, 2013; Rashidi& Samimi, 2012; Rostow, 1962).
particularly urban roads are somewhat typical in terms of their capacity to literally pave the way for various investments in social infrastructure sectors such as schools, health services, and security services. If it is well managed, road infrastructure transforms the quality of life of residents through dynamic externalities it generates. According to (Willam, 1961) road infrastructure is a key to socio economic development. But when the system is deficient in terms of capacity or reliability, it can have an economic cost such as reduced or missed opportunities.1.2 Statement of the problemUrbanization is occurring rapidly around the world particularly in developing countries, with its attendant demand on infrastructural facilities. According to World Bank (2002), urban areas are potential dynamic engines of growth and governments need to take steps to make their cities more conducive for socio economic growth. There is, therefore, need to provide good living and working environments and for this to occur, provision and sustainable management of infrastructure, especially roads, are imperative. Poor road infrastructure and high transport costs pose a major constraint to socio economic growth (Bloom and Sachs, 1998). Poor road access has put nevertheless constraints for urban poor people in terms of access to other social infrastructure such as education and health facilities. Therefore, improvement of urban road seems to be a clear means by which large numbers of people might acquire the opportunity to participate in the market economy and thereby raise themselves out of poverty (Oraboune, 2008) A new land use pattern may in turn create a greater attraction zone and accessibility to jobs, markets, health and educational facilities and attract investment for the development of feeder roads, power distribution networks, telecommunication facilities and other modes of connectivity leading to a greater access. All these should have a bearing on the level of well-being of the households (Sengupta et al 2007: 8-9; Islam et al 2008 part 2: 13).Underinvestment in road infrastructure has negative consequences on the socio-economic development of a nation (Harriet, Poku and Anin, 2013a; Kulash, 1999). Transportation creates place utility and contributes time utility both of which are necessary for economic and social development. Within the realm of supply chain, it does not only constitute one of the largest logistical costs but also, and crucially, accounts for significant portion of the cost of products and services (Grant, Lamber, Stock and Ellram, 2006)As was noted earlier, various researches were conducted in Ethiopia concerning the socio economic impact of road infrastructure. However, in the study area, there is no any study conducted regarding to the socio economic impacts of road infrastructure. It is obvious efficient road facilitates the socio economic activities of the community. But Mekane eyesuse did not benefited from road infrastructure yet. Because the town has not even distribution of road infrastructure and the existing roads are found in poor condition. Providing low performance of road network system results various problems such as, economic, social, environmental and political aspects.Therefore, the study will shed some illuminations on the social and economic impacts of road infrastructure in Mekane Eysus town by giving an insight into the multiplier effects of investing in road infrastructure. 1.3 .Objective of the study1.3.1 General objective The general objective of this study will be evaluate the impacts of road infrastructure on socio-economic activities in Mekane Eysus town and suggest solutions to the challenges.1.3.2 Specific objectives The specific objectives of the research study are: 1) Showing the coverage of road infrastructure in Mekane Eeysus town. 2) Asses the impacts of poor condition of road infrastructure on socio-economic activities 3) Describe positive effect of road infrastructure on socio-economic development of the town. 4) Examine the challenges of road infrastructure development in the town1.4. Research questions This study will be expected to answer the following basic research questions.1) What seems the coverage of road infrastructure in Mekane eyesuse town?2) What are the impacts of poor condition road infrastructure on socio-economic activities of the Town?3) What are the positive effect of road infrastructure on socio economic development? 4) What are the challenges of road infrastructure development in the town1.5. Hypothesis of the study I assuming that road networks in Mekane Eyesus is underdeveloped compared to those in large cities in Ethiopia and in some other developing countries in Africa and Asia. I also assuming that the benefit of road infrastructure may be spread across all kebeles of the town equally. The level of benefit may differ from kebele to kebele depending on each kebele’s readiness to invest in road networks. . 1.6. Limitation of the studyFinancial shortages and time is obvious common when conducting the thesis but the researcher may faces other different limitations, like that of availability of different documents such as reviewed literatures documents and also the researchers may also faces different problems related to responses and questions when come to across to forward appropriate conclusions1.7. Significance of the studyThe main significance of the study is for academic purpose; and also should be laid on certain measures that will be creating better awareness for concerned bodies. The research will use the administration of the Town to take special attention for the impacts of road infrastructure on socio-economic growth. Besides this the study is serve as reference for other researchers and policy makers who are interested to conduct further studies in the impact of road infrastructure on socio-economic development in the town.1.8. Scope of the studyThe scope of the study is geographically delimited to Mekane Eysus town which is one of the 10 towns in South Gondar Zone, Amhara Regional State and conceptually it focuses on assessing the impact of road infrastructure on socio-economic activities in the town.1.9. Description of the study areaLocationThe study is conducted in Mekane Eysus Town .The town is divided in four urban Kebeles which serves the political centre of Este woreda and it is the second largest town of South Gander zone next to Wereta which is found in Amhara region of Ethiopian established around 16 century during the period of Ate Fassiledes.Its distance from Addis Ababa is 685 km and/or far away from the regional state Bahir Dare 106 km and 55 km from Debere Tabor (the zonal capital). Its astronomical location is 1284837 Latitude and 0383423 Longitude. It has Woina Dega agro climatic zone with an average monthly minimum and maximum temperature of 10 centigrade and 20 centigrade respectively. And). Geographically, the town is bounded by the rural Keble namely Dengolt in the south Belta in the north Zegora in the west and Achekan Dgot in the east and surrounding woredas on the south Simada and Abay River, on the west by Andabet and Dera Woreda, on the north by Farta Woreda, and on the east by Lay Gaynte and Simada Woreda.