The World Bank has committed to fund a 740km highway at a cost of Sh100 billion that will run through four counties — Isiolo, Meru, Wajir and Mandera.
The project will be undertaken by the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA).
Speaking yesterday in Meru, Bernard Parmaray, an official at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, said KeNHA has already finalised designs for the first phase of the project.
He revealed that the World Bank has already released Sh50 billion for the first phase that will cover 356km, and now only the tendering process remains.
Mr Parmaray noted that the ministry has signed an MoU with the four counties involved that binds them to lower construction costs for the project.
“When planning this project we realised that the cost of materials will go high especially when levies charged by counties are factored in,” said Parmaray.
“So we have agreed with the governors of the respective counties to waive levies for materials that are produced and transported within their domains.”
Parmaray also revealed that a fibre optic cable will be laid along the highway. He said the Government also plans to build social amenities along the road.
“We are going to have a fibre optic cable along the whole stretch. We have also requested the governors to consult with the communities along the road, so that we can know what social amenities they need built along it,” said Parmaray.
Speaking at the same time, Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi said the project was a blessing to the county.
“It is a very important road for us given that it is going to open up the drier northern parts of Meru,” said Mr Kiraitu.
He averred that his administration will charge no levies on construction materials to be used on the new road, while facilitating their smooth transportation.
“We have agreed that we will charge no levies to materials or labour to be used on the road,” Kiraitu said.