The Kiambu county government has devised a new strategy of opening up rural and feeder access roads to reduce construction costs by more than 70 per cent.
The devolved government has assembled road construction equipment comprising graders, roller compactors, trucks, water bowsers and excavators.
The equipment has been opening up new roads and undertaking routine maintenance on feeder roads at a significantly reduced cost.
For the past three weeks, excavators have been stockpiling murram and other road construction materials from quarries owned by the county.
According to Governor Kimani Wamatangi, the approach has reduced the cost of gravelling the roads since only fueling the excavators and trucks is required.
He tasked County Executive Committee Member for Roads and Transport to be fully in charge of the project, from implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
"So far, we have graded more than 400 rural access roads in various wards using murram excavated from public quarries in Juja, Ruiru, Kabete, Thika and Limuru sub-counties.
"We are also scouring for other sites in Githunguri, Lari and Kikuyu. I intend to make all the areas accessible by the end of the year before moving to the next phase of tarmacking," he said.
The governor continued: "I have an elaborate plan to source funding for that. He spoke after touring a road project in Ngoliba in Thika.
In February, residents of Ndururumo, Magomano Ngoma Tupu and Zone T areas of Theta ward in Juja protested against the poor feeder roads.
Previously, the county floated tenders for rehabilitating rural access roads, some of which cost up to Sh4 million, with more than 500 per cent of the money reportedly going to brokers and unscrupulous officials who demand hefty kickbacks.
The governor said corruption has been thriving, with the roads department paying more than Sh900 million for road rehabilitation and maintenance in the previous regime.
A senior officer estimated that about Sh175 million is required for genuine road works.
"There could have been a loss of close to Sh800 million in one year within a single department. But what we have adopted has eliminated brokers and other dealers because all we have to do is to deploy our equipment operated by our staff. The extra cost we incur is fueling and allowances,” said Wamatangi.
Further, the governor said procurement for constructing three bridges is advanced to improve connectivity and spur economic growth.
The Bosnia Bridge will connect Kiuu and Kahawa Wendani wards in Ruiru, and Ngoma Tupu Bridge will link Theta ward Juja to Eastern Bypass. In contrast, Kuri Bridge in Gatundu South Ndarugu ward is set to connect farmers to the Kuri Tea factory.