ECONOMIC BOOST

Kenol-Marua dual carriageway to be completed a year earlier

The Sh14 billion project was scheduled to be completed in three years.

In Summary

• The dual carriageway will connect the Northern Corridor from Nairobi to the Lapsset Corridor in Isiolo. 

• CS James Macharia however said the government wants the project fast-tracked and completed by June next year.

Kenol-Marua dual carriageway project
Kenol-Marua dual carriageway project
Image: Alice Waithera

The 84km Kenol Marua dual carriageway will be completed in June next year.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia on Friday said the government wants the Chinese contractor to fast-track the Sh14 billion project to ensure it is operational as soon as possible. The project was scheduled to be completed in three years.

Macharia spoke while inspecting the project at Makuyu in Murang'a. He said the government also intends to expand a 15km stretch from Kenol to Thika town from the current two lanes to three lanes.

This will enable it to absorb traffic from the new dual carriageway onto the Thika superhighway without snarl-ups. An overpass will also be built.  

The dual carriageway will connect the Northern Corridor from Nairobi to the Lapsset Corridor in Isiolo. The project has caused the value of property along the road to triple as investors scramble for strategic locations for businesses.

The first phase, the 48km stretch from Kenol to Sagana town, will cost Sh8.5 billion, while the second phase, the 38km stretch between Sagana and Marua, will cost Sh6.4 billion.

The project will also entail the construction of a grade separated junction at Makutano. It will also include the construction of major and minor drainage structures and four bridges will be constructed between Kenol and Makutano.

The Cabinet Secretary said the road was a nightmare before the expansion project was started as it experienced heavy traffic all the way from Northern Kenya, adding that that three years ago, he was stuck on the road as he travelled from Mweiga in Nyeri with five other Cabinet Secretaries for over six hours.

Transport CS James Macharia during an inspection tour of Kenol Marua dual carriageway project.
Transport CS James Macharia during an inspection tour of Kenol Marua dual carriageway project.
Image: ALICE WAITHERA

In its current status of single carriageway, the road is a constriction to the flow of the high traffic experienced between Nairobi and Isiolo.

The President is expected to inspect the project and will commission it once completed. He has been frequently assessing its progress.

Macharia said he is consulting with Murang'a governor Mwangi wa Iria to have traders who will be displaced in Kenol town relocated to a modern market.

"We have plans together with the governor to source for land near Kenol and construct a modern market similar to the ones we are constructing at Muthithi and Kangare to provide traders with a space to conduct their business," he said.

The contractor will also set up markets for hawkers operating along the road and upgrade streets in the affected towns.

Two hospitals will be built at Kenol and Makutano to cater to road accident victims as part of the contractor's corporate social responsibility.

The project is one of the milestones of the Jubilee administration and will enable the road to absorb the traffic it receives from Mwea, Meru, Embu, Kerugoya, Mukurwe-ini and Tumutumu areas and boost socio-economic growth.

It will also enhance economic advantages for the country in its trade with Ethiopia and help the neighbouring country with its import challenges.

“This road will transform the economic wellbeing of the Mt Kenya region and make it easy for both farmers and traders to conduct their businesses,” Macharia said.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and other government officials inspect the Kenol-Marua dual carriageway on Friday.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and other government officials inspect the Kenol-Marua dual carriageway on Friday.
Image: Alice Waithera