Uhuru’s road to jolt roadside towns

KeNHa Project Manager Daniel Cherono in charge of Kenol-Sagana-Murua road briefs potential contractors. [Photo: Courtesy]
Towns and roadside traders along the 84 kilometre Kenol-Sagana-Murua road will be some of the biggest bene?ciaries when the construction starts in January 2020 after it emerged money to tarmac internal roads and build improved market sheds has been factored in the dual carriage’s budget.

This means all towns and markets along the dual carriage road will have better urban infrastructure, expected to grow commerce and trigger a massive increase in property prices and population.

A senior official of the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha), con?rmed during the tour of the road that none of the numerous roadside markets along the road will abolished, rather, modern stalls will be constructed to accommodate the traders.

Daniel Cherono, the project engineer, equally con?rmed that all the towns along the road will bene?t from tarmac and construction of modern market stalls in a move expected to ease the burden of urban improvement for respective governors.

Key beneficiaries include Kenol town in Murang’a with 3 kilometres of roads within it, plus stalls that will help house the quickly expanding fresh produce market as well as roadside fruits and refreshment sellers.

Others will be Huhi town and its sprawling fruits market, the two fruits near the Ithanga turn-off, Kambiti town and its several fruits markets, the two fish markets on the either side of Sagana River Bridge and Makutano town with its growing market.

Sagana Town will have a further benefit from the setting up of a modern trauma centre within the Sagana County Hospital.

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.

But the request to extend the road to the proposed site of the Sagana Industrial Park has not been factored in the plan although the Kenha official said it could be considered within the project completion time.

Other markets to benefit from improved infrastructure include those between Sagana and Kaingwachi, and those between Karatina and Marua.

Interchanges Kenha drawings based on the road design that was done in 2015 revealed that there will be two major interchanges; at Makutano on the junction to NgurubaniEmbu town, at Marua where the project terminates, and a roundabout at Karatina town.

At Karatina, all the front line buildings on the left hand side of the main road to Nyeri, which housed Uchumi and the current Total petrol station among others will be demolished in order to create space for the dual carriage that cuts across the town just as the current road does.

Another major development will be a new bridge at the Sagana River.

The bridge will be constructed on the left side towards Makutano.

The contractor will however be expected to maintain the current bridge that will take traffic to Nairobi and make minor improvements on it.

The new road will start about 300 metres before Kenol town from Nairobi side. At Kenol as in the main other towns along the route, a pedestrian footbridge will be constructed.

The contractor is also expected to maintain the underpasess at the Kakuzi farm in order to enable movement of the company’s huge herd of livestock.

According to Cherono, the first lot of the road project, from Kenol to Sagana, 48 kilometres, will require minimal compensation, expect at the Makutano interchange, because the road reserve is 60 metres wide and adequate for the expansion.

However, along the second lot, Sagana to Marua, the road reserve is 40 metres wide, meaning that Kenha will need to acquire additional 20 metres across the stretch in order to fully accommodate the dual carriage.

The amount to be compensated is not known yet as the National Land Commission is expected to advice on the matter.

Cherono said sections of the existing road along the route will be demolished and reconstructed while other sections will only be improved slightly.

He said there is no one side that will accommodate the new road as it will interchange along the whole stretch. With the new road measuring 84 kilometres, it means the whole length for the purposes of construction will be 168 kilometres, expected to be completed in three years, tentatively from January 2020.

“Procurement usually takes an average of four months so we expect to start in January 2020 if all goes well,” said Cherono. The Kenol – Sagana – Marua Road is part of the “Great North Road” from Mombasa, through Nairobi and on to Moyale - and hence to Ethiopia and Addis Ababa.

It forms part of the 800km stretch between Nairobi and Moyale and is situated in the five counties of Muranga, Kirinyaga, Machakos, Embu and Nyeri.

According to the Africa Devlopment Bank, the financier, the existing single carriageway is an impediment to flow of the high traffic experienced between Nairobi and Isiolo/Nyeri towns as well as other roads serving off shoot towns like Embu, Meru, Mwea, Kerugoya, Kutus, Kagio, Kagumo, Mukurweini, Tumutumu among others that connect to this arterial road at various points.

Its construction is expected to cause major disruptions along the busy road but efficiency dividends when it’s completed, slashing the cost of doing business especially in Mt. Kenya region.

Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.

Roadside towns84 kilometre Kenol-Sagana-Murua road