LEGACY PROJECT

Kenol-Sagana-Marua highway to be ready 24 months ahead of time

CS Macharia says the government is expanding the road to a four-lane dual carriageway.

In Summary

• Adesina said he had lived in Kenya for ten years and that these projects implemented by the president were transformative in opening up the country and the economy.

• The expansion of the Kenol-Sagana-Marua highway was supposed to be completed by December 2024 but will be ready for use by December this year.

Transport CS James Macharia and AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina arrive in Kenol, Murang'a, to inspect construction of Kenol-Sagana-Marua road on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.
Transport CS James Macharia and AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina arrive in Kenol, Murang'a, to inspect construction of Kenol-Sagana-Marua road on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.
Image: /WILFRED NYANGARESI

A 15.6 billion road project in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard is set for completion 24 months ahead of time, Infrastructure CS James Macharia has said.

The expansion of the Kenol-Sagana-Marua highway was supposed to be completed by December 2024 but will be ready for use by December this year, two months after Uhuru's exit from office. 

Macharia said the road is a critical component of the President's legacy projects as people “from the region have waited for 40 years to have it done and upgraded”.

"This demonstrates how committed the President is in upgrading the infrastructural progress of the country to enable take off,” the CS said 

Macharia on Tuesday took African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina on a tour of 84km-long section of the project to inspect the progress made.

The CS said the construction work on the AfDB-funded project was divided into two lots, which are at 72 and 63 per cent complete respectively.

He said the government is expanding the critical transport link into a modern four-lane dual carriageway.

Adesina, who is in the country at the invitation of Uhuru to take part of the Wednesday’s Madaraka Day celebrations, said he was impressed by the quality of work on the road and the speed of its delivery.

“I was very impressed by the speed at which this project [is progressing]. We approved this project on September 29, 2019. We don't see that often.

"I come here and see lot one is 72 per cent and lot two 63 per cent complete. I think the government deserves a pat on the back,” he said.

The road is part of the Nairobi-Kenol-Marua-Isiolo transport corridor, which connects the Northern Corridor (Mombasa-Malaba) to Lapsset. 

The Lapsset Corridor links Lamu port to South Sudan and Ethiopia through Isiolo and the larger northern Kenya.  

"Most importantly, the expanded Kenol-Sagana-Marua highway will enhance linkages between Northern and Eastern Kenya on one hand, and the Central and Southern parts of the country on the other," Macharia said.

The road is also an international trunk road that forms part of the “Great North Road/Trans African Highway No. 4” from Cairo in Egypt through Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Dodoma, Lusaka and Gaborone to Cape Town in South Africa. 

The Kenyan section of the road is the stretch between Namanga on the Tanzania border and Moyale on the border with Ethiopia. 

The Great North Road also links Somalia through the Isiolo-Mandera Corridor.

Macharia said before construction, the road was too narrow to accommodate the high traffic volume that needed its support, resulting in snarl-ups.

"..this section [was] a major bottleneck on the corridor due to high traffic volumes and frequent road accidents, which resulted in long travel times and avoidable casualties. It is necessary to upgrade this section to facilitate smooth movement and make it safer for road users."

Adesina listed some of the projects the bank is funding in the country as Kapchorwa–Suam–Kitale and Eldoret Bypass roads, Mombasa–Mariakani highway expansion and Malindi–Lunga Lunga/Tanga-Bagamoyo Road Corridor Development.

Others are Arusha–Namanga–Athi River road, Arusha–Holili/Taveta–Voi road, Nairobi–Thika Road upgrade, Marsabit–Turbi–Moyale road upgrading, Isiolo–Merille (A2) road, rehabilitation of Timboroa–Eldoret Road Project and Nairobi Outer Ring Road Improvement.

The AfDB president said apart from road projects, the bank is also pumping billions into other forms of infrastructure, including energy and water. 

"I have lived in Kenya for 10 years and I know that these projects implemented by the president are extremely transformative in opening up the country and the economy," he said. 

Edited by A.N

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