State rolls out Sh18b road works in Nyanza

One of the largest road construction projects in Nyanza region in recent times is ready for take-off.

Five counties in Nyanza are preparing themselves for a windfall after the Government kicked off plans for the reconstruction of the dilapidated 170km Isebania-Kisii-Ahero highway as part of the Sh18 billion project that will cover 374 kilometres across Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Homa Bay, and Kisumu counties.

The project will also see hospitals, markets, and several feeder roads improved and offer employment to thousands of youth.

The Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital, the Nyamira Level Five Hospital, and the Nyabondo Mission Hospital in Kisumu are among the medical facilities that will benefit from the construction of the Isebania-Kisii-Ahero highway.

Rapid response

The hospitals will receive ambulances and emergency care facilities to enhance the Government’s efforts to improve rapid-response services along main highways in Kenya. Establishing a comprehensive post-crash care centre at hospitals has been identified as one way of managing the effects of road accidents.

Two Chinese  companies —China Henan International Corporation Group and China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Company Ltd — that won the contract have moved to the site to commence work. According to Kevin Nyabuto, an engineer from the Kenya National Highways Authority, the project is meant to open up the region for trade between the counties and neighbouring countries.

“The contractor has put up a camp near Kamagambo area in Migori County, a sign that construction has already begun. The objective of the project is to improve the transportation of import and export goods and passenger traffic along the Tanzania-Kenya-South Sudan corridor,” Nyabuto said.

The project is also expected to contribute to restoring the road network and improving the economic and social welfare of people living along the road.

The project entails improvement of feeder roads linking markets, social, administrative, and educational centres such as the Nyachenge-Tabaka-Ogembo road and the Suneka-Rangwe road.

Relocation and improvement of the weighbridge at Rongo is also included in the project to enhance the government’s capacity to control vehicle overloading.

Dual carriageway

The project will also entail the rehabilitation of the Kisii-Isebania road from the current five- to six-metre width to a seven-metre-wide carriageway with two-metre shoulders on each side to reduce traffic snarl-ups.

A dual carriageway and an interchange will also be constructed at Daraja Moja market.

In the second part of the project between Kisii and Ahero, the project design entails improvement of feeder roads such as the Oyugis–Kendu Bay, Oyugis–Gamba, Misambi–Ekerenyo, and Sondu–Nyabondo roads.

Ministry of Roads and Infrastructure Principal Secretary John Musonik yesterday announced that the Government plans to spend Sh9 billion to rehabilitate several roads in Nyamira County.

“Some of the road projects, including Chabera-Ikonge-Cheplait, are ongoing,” he said.

Among the roads earmarked for rehabilitation in the project jointly funded by the Government and the African Development Bank is the Isebania-Kisii-Ahero stretch, once described by engineers as the most dangerous road in East Africa.

Massive project

The Kenya National Highways Authority director-general, Peter Mundinia, described the roads rehabilitation project as ‘massive’ and ‘the biggest-ever in Nyanza region’.

He said the roads will open up the counties for economic growth since their poor status has negatively affected farmers, who sell their produce at throwaway prices because of poor infrastructure.

Mr Mundinia said the Isebania-Kisii-Ahero road will be upgraded.

“The upgrade will include spacious paved shoulders, climbing lanes, footbridges, and overpasses,” he said.