The national government is set to commence a Sh25 billion project to build two security roads stretching 250 kilometers to boost security and infrastructure across Lamu County ahead of the inauguration of a new port.
The two roads namely, the 150-km Hindi-Kiunga road and the 100-km Ijara-Hulugho road are meant to complement the Lamu-Witu-Garsen road that is currently at 88 percent completion, in improving the Class A network of roads in Lamu which until mid-2016 did not have an inch of tarmac.
Speaking at the Lamu Island ahead of an inspection of road works and planning for the new security roads, Kenya National Highways Authority(KeNHA), Chairman Engineer Wangai Ndirangu said the two security roads had already been budgeted for in the current financial year.
“The two security roads will have a two-pronged effect of improving security within the Lamu Boni area, as well as opening up the area for future investors once the Lamu Port operationalization takes off later this year,” Engineer Ndirangu stated.
He further said the Hindi-Kiunga road will aid in improving cross border trade relations with Somalia once diplomatic tensions are settled since it will serve as the main tarmacked road connecting Kenya to Somalia via Lamu.
Currently the banditry prone Hindi-Kiunga road is in a state of disrepair and local leaders have been lobbying the national government to upgrade and tarmac it. Regrettably due to its condition, the road has been a common target for Al-Shabaab militants who implant IEDs on it.
“Initially gravel works, and clearing of the two road corridors will be done and we expect works to begin in April this year,” the KeNHA chairman stated.
Kenya Ports Authority(KPA), Chairman General (Rtd) Joseph Kibwana stated that there are also plans to ensure initial gravel and clearing works start on the 255-km Lamu-Garissa road in tandem with the two security roads.
Kibwana said that the Lamu- Garissa road will aid in facilitating a permanent route for ferrying goods along the Northern corridor all the way up to Southern Ethiopia with the road meant to connect with the Garissa-Moyale road that is already tarmacked.
“Despite the budgetary constraints that the national government is experiencing, funds are already being secured to ensure road works commence next month, with a view of ensuring full operationalization and viability of the Lamu Port is realized later in the year,” General Kibwana stated.
Lamu County Commissioner, Irungu Macharia on his part hailed the move to facilitate two security roads saying doing so will aid in improving security agencies response in addressing insecurity incidences.
He added that the two roads are a sign of the national government’s commitment to address insecurity and improve Lamu’s socio-economic standing.