By JACKSON OKOTH
A delay in disbursement of funds by the World Bank threatens progress on the Northern Corridor Transport Improvement Project.
Some additional financing of $120 million was to be disbursed by the lender as part of its financial commitments to this vital project.
However, the end of the World Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy for Kenya in June, means funding has to wait for fresh commitments by the donor agency.
The $276.5 million project, approved by the World Bank’s board four years ago, is tailored to increase efficiency in road transport along the corridor.
The Government is funding the project to the tune of $54.3 million, which is only 19 per cent of the entire cost. Details from the roads ministry indicate that work is in progress on sections of the Northern corridor and Mombasa road.
Rehabilitation of a section from Mombasa to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport complete. The stretch between Maji ya Jumvi to Miritini is also complete, except for the weighbridge at Mariakani and Athi river, which is under a different contract, financed by the World Bank’s East African Trade Facilitation facility. Facing possible delays is the section between Sultan Hamud and JKIA, which is still under construction. Also under construction is the Sultan Hamud to Machakos turn off section, Machakos turn off to Athi River and Embakasi, all under one contractor.
Work on the dual carriage between Machakos turn off to Athi River is at advanced stages, officials say.
Ministry officials say rehabilitation work on key ABC class roads is almost complete, including vital links running through the country’s major corridors.
"Some of the remaining links along this corridor include one between Mau-Summit and Kisumu and the Timboroa-Malaba link. These links are yet to be tendered," says a roads engineer.
"We have a plan to work on main arteries, including rehabilitation of the major corridors before moving to those roads connecting to these arteries," says a ministry official.
The Northern Corridor comprises of the transport infrastructure, facilities and services in East and Central Africa linked to the Maritime Port of Mombasa.