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Sh15b North Rift road to open, boost region economy

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi (center) Tiaty Mp William Kamket (left) Baringo county commissioner Henry Wafula, Kenya National Highways Authority officials and other local leaders arriving for a consultative meeting for the construction of Barpello - Tot - Marich pass road at Lake Bogoria Spa in Baringo County on December 6, 2021. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The construction of Sh15 billion road through Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot counties is expected to open up the region whose potential over the years has been unexploited.

Yesterday, Kenya National Highway Authority officials met Baringo leaders led by Senator Gideon Moi and governor Stanley Kiptis in a consultative meeting at Lake Bogoria Spa Resort to agree on areas of improvement.

Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) chairman Wangai Ndirangu and Director-General Kungu Ndung’u said the construction of the 115 kilometres road will begin in January 2022. The first lot covering 43 kilometres begins in Baringo County from Barpello to Tot.

“We are here to listen and deliver within time. We need to have a common understanding of the plan so that we move forward,” said Ndirangu.

Ndirangu said the contractor is on-site, has mobilised equipment and is undertaking the final stages of design review. He said the contract lasts for three years. The road connects to Kitale-Lodwar-South Sudan Highway at Marich Pass and then connects to the Nairobi-Malaba Highway at Nakuru.

KeNHA, in their report, said the road would see a reduction of transport cost to users and enhance transportation of agricultural goods to the market. Counties will see an increase in revenue generation due to the stopovers of long-distance trucks along the road. KeNHA said there is a need to have structures within the road reserve removed within a reasonable period to mitigate delays.

"Further, graves along the route need to be removed. We call on the community leaders and the county government to help those affected to carry out necessary rites," KeNHA said.

KeNHA has also proposed to have peace monuments at Tot and Chesogon and asked the county government to donate land for parking. According to KeNHA, insecurity is a serious matter affecting the implementation of the project. They further said the consultant was unable to carry out the survey within Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot border and a project security committee needs to be constituted.

Gideon said the road would pass through Tiaty, which for a long time has not opened up. He said he was excited that the prayers of the Baringo people had finally been answered. He expressed his gratitude to President Uhuru Kenyatta for fulfilling his 2015 pledge.

“The 43km Lot one will do wonders for us. It will unlock the economic potential of our area and the issue of insecurity,” Gideon said.

He said the road infrastructure passing through Tiaty would help develop the area and increase tourism activities along the corridors.

According to the Kanu Chairman, insecurity would be dealt with as the road infrastructure would ensure a rapid response to cattle rustling cases.

He assured KeNHA officials and the contractor of full support as they embarked on the construction of the road.

Governor Kiptis, on his part, announced a cess waiver on the construction materials.

He called on the contractor to dig water pans along the road as a way of giving back to the community.

“KeNHA has requested us that we do not collect cess from the construction material, and we have said we will not charge them,” he said.

The governor called on the revival of the Tot Kolowa irrigation scheme.

North Rift Economic Block chairman Joseph Makilap urged KeNHA to engage locals in road construction.

“This road will open up the insecurity-prone region and change the mindset of the people,” he said.

Tiaty MP William Kamket said insecurity incidences would not interfere with the construction of the road.

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