The upgrade to bitumen standards of a 33km road in a record three months at a cost of Sh600 million is among initiatives that have turned the spotlight on Machakos County.
Governor Alfred Mutua has prioritised roads expansion as a vital component of transforming the county from a low-income economy to a more developed and self-sustaining one.
In 2014, his administration upgraded to bitumen standards the Makutano-Kithimani road connecting Mwala and Yatta sub-counties through the towns of Makutano and Kithimani.
Horticultural farmers along River Athi at the Kabaa Irrigation Scheme were arguably the biggest gainers as they now enjoy convenient transportation of their produce.
At the same time, the road transformed the travel experience in the region besides attracting more and greater investments in the region.
In 2016, the county government tarmacked of the 15km Kathiani-Kakuyuni-Kangundo road connecting Kathiani and Kangundo sub-counties, which together with Machakos and Matungulu constitute a rich agricultural area and are basically the county’s principal breadbaskets.
This means farmers in Matungulu and Kangundo can easily access market for their produce in Machakos with relative convenience.
Currently, the county is tarmacking the 18km Kivandini-Masinga road in the east, which connects Yatta and Masinga. The new road is expected to boost tourism in Masinga Dam, which is the largest reservoir of the Seven Forks hydro-electric stations.
Dr Mutua has said prioritising infrastructure development is vital for faster economic growth.
“When we build roads, our people will be able to move faster and more efficiently, and do business with other regions. Our aim is to make it more attractive, convenient and efficient for residents and investors to invest in Machakos and create more direct and indirect jobs for our youths,” Mutua said while meeting county workers at the Machakos People’s Park last week.
The roads, he said, would complement the ongoing construction of major highways by the national government. For instance, the 72km Konza-Machakos-Kangundo road, which was commissioned two years ago by President Uhuru Kenyatta, is almost complete.
The road will connect the upcoming Konza techno-city to Kiambu County through Machakos.
The national government is also building the 35km Tala-Donyo Sabuk road connecting Machakos and Kiambu counties through Mt Kilimambogo and the Fourteen Falls tourist sites.