Sh398 million airstrip facelift stalls amid row over payment

Nanyuki airstrip before Kenya Airports Authority tendered for its rehabilitation and expansion.
Concerns have been raised over the delayed rehabilitation of the Nanyuki airstrip.

The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) awarded the Sh398 million tender four years ago but later terminated the contract.

Kenya Airports Authority in 2014 awarded the contract for repair and expansion of the runway to 1.5 kilometres and 23 metres wide, construction of an apron and car park. The project was to be completed in 12 months.

Four years down the line, planes operating from the air hub still land on a parallel murramed runway that was constructed to give way for renovation of the main landing field. However, the delay could even take longer after auditor general’s reports on KAA revealed a standoff between the agency and the contractor.

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For the year ended 2017, Auditor General Edward Ouko revealed that the standoff emanated from termination of the tender by KAA and bills presented by Doch Company, the firm that won the tender. The contractor is demanding payment for part of work done, idling equipment and cost of building the temporary runway. The reports reads: “Site instructions for construction of the temporary runway and its cost estimation were not seen in the project file and the employer also did not respond to contractor’s letters requesting for applicable rates for these works as the rates used in the contract sum could not apply since this was new scope of work.”

The contractor had demanded over Sh120 million for the temporary runway.

Shortest time

However, according to KAA Public Relations Officer Grace Odhiambo, the agency in is negotiations with the contractor for payment of constructing temporary runway, adding that the tender would be re-advertised.

“We are hoping that the negotiations will be hastened so that we can re-tender the work. We intend to take the shortest time possible to repair the runway so that it gets operational,” Ms Odhiambo said.

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Initially, the contract period was 12 months with completion date of November 23, 2015, but after a sitting by the tender committee in November 2015, completion date was extended for nine months.

A progress report dated July 31, 2016, however showed that the overall progress was at 42 per cent complete with less than a month left to end of the project in revised dates.

Although the contractor gave a notice of completion of the temporary runway indicating that a part of the runway was ready for use and that the remaining section was to be completed in a month, auditor general’s report revealed that there was no communication to show its completion and its readiness for use.

When The Standard visited the airfield that is nine kilometres from Nanyuki town, it found the old runway that was set for rehabilitation covered by overgrown grass, while the temporary one was in bad state.

Renovation of the runway was intended to enable bigger planes land there but, according to Jamie Roberts General Manager of Tropic Air company that runs the airstrip, even small planes have since shunned landing at the airstrip due to its poor state.

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KAAKenya Airports AuthorityNanyuki airstrip