The completion of the 84km Kenol-Sagana-Marua road will take longer than expected, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has said.
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration had attempted to rush against time to complete the Sh16.7 billion project before he left office but failed.
Gachagua now says the completion of the road, which is part of the Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis Ababa corridor and has been under construction since October 2020, will have to wait longer due to compensation issues with business owners around Karatina town.
Speaking on one of the vernacular stations, Gachagua said out of the Sh2.9 billion allocated for compensation, the Kenya Kwanza administration has allocated Sh1.5 billion in this financial year to settle compensation claims that are below a million.
“Residents living between the Kangocho area to Karatina and those from Mathaithi to Marua, whose compensation falls between Sh100,000 and Sh1 million, will receive compensation in this financial year. However, those in Karatina town will have to wait for the next financial budget for compensation, as their claims exceed Sh1 million,” Gachagua said.
The areas mentioned by Gachagua are part of the Lot 2 project, which covers the 36km Sagana-Marua road stretch, while the Lot 1 project includes the 48km Kenol-Sagana stretch.
He said after consulting with the contractor regarding the issue of delayed payments, he has returned to the construction site, and work on the road is now in progress.
The DP said their administration had inherited a debt of Sh980 billion for road projects alone. However, he said due to efforts to address corruption and close loopholes, the country was back on track, and they were reviving stalled projects across the country. “Projects such as Shamata-Mairu Inya-Kapten and Mau Mau roads are currently under construction after we reached an agreement with contractors regarding the payment model,” he explained.
According to Gachagua, the Kenol Sagana Marua project will now be expanded to pass through Nyeri town and redirect at Kabiruini to Chaka, connecting to the Nanyuki stretch, all the way to Isiolo town.
As the government plans to extend the road, the Auditor General, in the audit report for the Financial Year 2021/22, criticised the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) for indicating that corporate social responsibility (CSR) project designs had been marked as completed on paper but could not be physically verified.
“The audit inspection exercise conducted in November 2022 revealed that although the designs and estimates for 29 motorcycle (boda boda) sheds and five modern market sheds were completed in November 2021 and submitted to the Project Management, with locations identified for the market and boda boda sheds, no construction had commenced,” the report stated.
The report also indicated that works on 24 access roads totaling approximately 23.7 kilometres, as well as works on Mitiini-Santamore, Makuyu Girls, and Ciumbu centre, had not yet begun.
The report highlighted that one 50-meter-long footbridge at Kenol shopping centre had not been completed, even though the geotechnical survey had been finished, and the setting out was done.
“The detailed designs and bills of quantities for the Sagana trauma center had been completed, but the construction of the same had not yet begun,” the report said.
Other complementary social facilities that were supposed to be constructed alongside the multi-billion-dollar project included a trauma centre in Makutano and the construction and equipping of Sagana Sub-County hospital in Kirinyaga, among others. However, these projects have not been initiated thus far.
Although the report mentioned that the project scope included the construction of one interchange at Marua, the construction of two roundabouts at Karatina, the building of market sheds, the development of access roads, and the construction of motorcycle (boda boda) sheds, a physical inspection of the project conducted in November 2022 revealed that the works had not commenced.