Murkomen: Construction of stalled 68 km Thika-Magumu road in Gatundu North to start

A section of Thika-Magumu road in Kiambu under construction. [File, Standad]

For the last four years, the 68-kilometre Thika-Magumu road has remained a nightmare both to Gatundu North residents and motorists, after  construction works stalled.

Since the construction began, numerous potholes, clouds of dust, and dangerous terraces continue to make the road users regret why the contractor started repair of the road if they could not complete it.

Irked that China State Construction Company, the contractor, had failed to fulfil the promises he made to fix the road, Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen announced that the government will begin construction of the impassable roads immediately after the rains subside.

“You people when you held a demonstration and planted bananas on this road, the president saw and later shared the clip via WhatsApp, see your roads Murkomen, eh, the president then paused,” the CS told Gatundu residents.

Murkomen spoke over the weekend during the issuance of Sh48 million worth of bursaries to learners at Mang'u Primary School grounds in Gatundu North.

“The president has given my ministry a go-ahead to look for a contractor who will finish up the work and I can assure you before one and half months, we will have sorted out the mess and a new contractor will be on site. I will also request the president and his deputy president to accompany me so that we can re-launch the road afresh,” Murkomen said.

Construction works, which include re-tarmacking and expansion of the width of the carriageway, began in August 2020 and were set for completion in December 2021.

Redoing the ring road had been envisioned to decongest the Nairobi metropolitan area by linking the busy Thika road to the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

Transport cost through public means between Thika and Magumu averages Sh400, while those going further to Nakuru pay Sh600.

The road links Kiambu, Nyandarua and Murang’a Counties through Thika town traversing through Gatukuyu, Mangu, Kamwangi and Kanjuku before passing through the tea growing area of Gakoe cutting through Kieni and Kamae forests before reaching Magumu.

 It is estimated to cost the taxpayers shs 2.1 billion.

Murkomen revealed that the Kenya Kwanza government would prioritize over 50 kilometers of dilapidated roads at Githobokoni Wards.

These are part of the multi-billion Mau Mau Road Lot 1B project that Kenya National Highways Authority awarded to China Railways Company but construction stalled after the contractor was reportedly not paid.

 Area Member of Parliament Elijah Njoroge regretted that many people have lost their lives through accidents along the road after the contractor dug up trenches and left them unattended.

“Residents of this constituency have been lighting bonfires and crucifying for the mess that was brought by the contractor, but I am happy today you are here and you will answer their request. All we ask is for you to change the contractor and give it to someone capable of completing the work," said Njoroge.

Residents of Gathaite, Gatei, Marigi, Kandakomu, Mwimutu and Miiri have been protesting over the poor state of the roads that have paralysed economic activities in the area.

Recently, school buses and lorries were stuck along poor roads compelling school-going children to trek kilometres to access education.

It has also led to rotting of farm produce before they get to the market.

This happened as Trade CS Moses Kuria,  who had accompanied his colleague announced to lobby for the construction of the Makwa-Ng'ethu road.

Kuria said this will spur economic development for locals who have been enslaved by the manufacture and consumption of illicit brew over the years.

“I want us to agree on one thing, that I will push for the tarmacking of Gatukuyu-Makwa-Ng’ethu road and in return you people will help the government end the illicit brew in Makwa,” said Kuria.

The 16-kilometre road passes through the notorious village, commonly known for the production and sale of illicit brew to Ng’ethu village where Nairobi Water Company has its biggest water treatment plant.