The company constructing the multi-billion shilling Thwake Dam has diverted a stretch of Athi River into two mega tunnels.
According to the China Ghezoubha Group Company Limited engineers, the tunnels will now provide a substitute waterway for Athi River before its waters are channelled to rejoin the original course to the Indian Ocean.
China Gezhouba Group Company Limited General Manager Frank Keeh lauded the major achievement made at the end of last year.
“We have decided to alter the river course flow so that major excavation works can be allowed when the river base is dry,” said Keeh.
He said it would not have been possible to carry out the works when the river is flowing on its normal course.
“We can say this is a great achievement by this company since once the dam is completed, it will be an economic game-changer to the people of this region,” said Keeh.
Engineers say the tunnels measuring 700 metres in length with a diameter of 12 metres are enough to allow the flow of the swollen Athi River.
According to the CGGC general manager, the tunnels are designed in such a way that they can allow passage of 11,480 cubic metres of water flow every second.
The dam, which is being constructed at the border of Makueni and Kitui counties, is 65 per cent complete and will be commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta by June.
Speaking to the press after witnessing the closure and diversion of Athi and Thwake rivers to tunnels on Friday, Makueni County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed reiterated the government’s commitment to fast-tracking the project.
“As stakeholders, the various ministries, State departments and agencies are working together to ensure that the contractor is paid on time to fast-track the construction work at the site and they have no reason to delay,” said Mohammed.
Mohammed announced that the government is in the final stages of acquiring additional 60 acres at a cost of Sh45 million for the project.
“The president will be coming here in June 2022 to commission this project. We have realised we need more land as construction continues.”