The Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) has launched a drive to build low volume seal roads across major towns in the north rift region as a way of improving accessibility.
Speaking during an inspection tour of roads constructed by the agency in Kitale today, KURA General Director for Finance Wilson Chirchir said more than 11 towns in the region are set to benefit.
He named Kabarnet, Kitale, Kapenguria, Kapsabet and Eldoret as some of the towns that will have roads within constructed or upgraded to bitumen standard.
Chirchir said the agency had shifted focus from concentrating on mega projects to constructing at least ten kilometers of roads in each of the town annually.
He observed that financing of mega projects at times take longer as funds are processed by the exchequer adding that the initiative will ensure more roads are upgraded within shorter period.
“We are also working in liaison with the county governments and road users in the region to establish what we can achieve in a shorter span than wait for funding of mega projects which usually takes long,” he said.
The road agency’s north rift manager Edwin Limo disclosed that the new roads will have pedestrian walking paths on the sides, lanes for motorbikes and zebra crossings where relevant.
Engineer Limo said this year KURA is upgrading four kilometers of roads in Kitale town citing that the newly upgraded routes will help decongest the town.
“We have just completed tarmacking of the road linking Kitale county referral hospital with the Kitale – Eldoret highway via the showground and this will ease access of the facility especially when the highway is much busy,” he pointed out.
Limo said a total of Sh 16.9 million had been spent to construct the 600 meters stretch of road that is wide enough to accommodate two way traffic and which enhances access to the hospital.
He noted that in the program less than Sh 30 million could be spent to construct a kilometer of road contrary to the widely propagated information that a kilometer of tarmac would cost Sh 100 million.
“We are also constructing the road linking Mitume to the county stadium, a stretch of 2.3 kilometers at a cost of Sh 167 million and which will take about 18 months to be completed,” pointed out Richard Donde, a senior roads engineer at KURA.
He disclosed that contractors will also pitch tent for five years to maintain the road before exiting from the site noting that this will ensure they deliver quality work.
Engineer Donde added that the road that will also link to the Kitale bus terminus will have pedestrian walking lanes and parking bays for boda boda cyclists.