The Kenya National Highway Authority KENHA has announced commencement of tarmacking of the 4.4 billion Kshs Kopasi river-Lomut-Sigor-Marich pass A1 road.
The 35.8 kilometer bitumen road will open up the banditry prone Kerio valley region and reduce travel times from Nakuru to Lodwar by 70 kms.
During a stakeholders meeting that was held at Sigor by KENHA officials that saw West Pokot county governor John Lonyangapuo, MP David Pkosing parliamentary roads committee chairman and Peter Lochakapong Mp Sigor among others attending, it was revealed that the road will link up Elgeyo Marakwet, Turkana, Baringo and Trans Nzoia counties.
Speaking during the engagement meeting KENHA board chairman engineer Wangai Ndirangu said once complete the road will connect Kitale, Lodwar, South Sudan A1 highway at Marich pass to the Nairobi Malaba highway A8 at Nakuru.
“This will reduce transportation cost and enhance access to market agricultural and industrial products. Mangoes, honey and livestock products will reach the market before they perish.” He said.
He added that the increase of revenue generation for counties attributed to stop over of long distance trucks at the truck parking planned for construction at Sigor and Lomut centers will be part of the benefits.
He noted that in security issues the road will solve insecurity menace and improve the connectivity for rapid response by the security agencies to cattle rustling and communities fighting over water and pastures.
He noted that a peace monument at Chesegon area will be erected by KENHA and access roads to Sigor town, sub county hospital, the deputy county commissioner office, Chesta teachers training college roads will be part of corporate social responsibility so as to foster peace and development.
He requested those who had encroached the road reserve areas to move and pave way for the construction of the road before their structures are demolished.
“There will be construction of interchange at Marich pass, a truck park will be constructed at Sigor and street lights along the 35 kilometer stretch will also be erected.” He said
He noted that the A1 road will be complete in the year 2024 and the contractor is Victoria engineering company limited citing that the locals should not interfere with the project by refusing to pave way for the road.
“We have also set aside funds to train 20 youths on road works at the vocational institute so that they can get skills and create employment for the youths,” he added.
The area governor John Lonyangapuo said the county government will grant waiver of cess fees charged on materials used in the project since it is for the benefit of the county and to avoid stoppage of works by the contractor.
“Will also consult and get land for construction of Truck Park and its social amenities where KENHA will construct the park and hand it over to the county for management.” He said.
MP Pkosing said roads and transport ministry has a huge pending bill amounting to 150 billion which has delayed roads project across the country to be complete but they are looking on a structured way to address the issue.
“The executive should float upon specifically for roads so that we can work on the roads,” he said.
He pleaded with the banks to loan the contractors and help them to continue with the works citing that if the banks know the road has been budgeted and the contractor is awarded and then the ex checker is coming the bank should not deny the contractor the money and they know the government will pay whether today or tomorrow.
“Kenya Revenue Authority Withholding tax should be accessed by contractors with a minimum interest so that the contractor can access the funds and work on the roads.” He added