West Pokot County Government in conjunction with the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) is set to build the first bridge on Suam river in a remote area along the Kenya-Uganda border, in a move set to massively benefit residents.
The bridge will join Kanyarkwat (West Pokot Sub County) and Kanyerus (North Pokot Sub County) Mt. Elgon areas and the neighboring country Uganda and is set to ease transportation, improve access to services, facilities and economy of the area.
Residents who are mostly pastoralists in the remote area have been suffering as many rivers are impassable because they lack bridges after the area was neglected since independence by former regimes.
West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo who visited the area yesterday with engineers from KeRRA regional office to survey and design the bridge cited that the County government will partner with the roads authority to construct the first ever bridge in the area. “We want to make sure the construction of bridges starts by December because it should be constructed during the dry season,” he said.
Lonyangapuo said that most rivers in the area don’t have bridges citing that it has affected movement and transportation of people and goods. “From Suam Orchard, Kapenguria, Kacheliba area 150 kilometers to Turkwel and 200 kilometers to Lodwar there are no bridges,” he said.
He said that rivers carry big volumes of water which comes from hills making people to wait for many hours for them to cross. “Many people and cattle die especially during a heavy downpour. We have lost many people and cattle in this area while crossing rivers. In 2010, we lost three students who had gone to the neighboring country Uganda to sell cattle so that they can pay school fees,” he said.
He cited that the government helped to construct Chepkoel footbridge on river Suam which only caters for people, animals, motorbikes but not vehicles. “The Kacheliba Bridge was constructed when I was the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works,” he said.
The West Pokot Governor said that the County government has set aside money to pump piped water from Mt. Elgon to Chepchoina area urging locals in the area to utilize it. “We want Kacheliba and Kapenguria people to benefit from this water,” he said. Moreover, he said that the County government will build standard roads in the County, saying they intend to improve infrastructure.