The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) says the 84 kilometre Kenol-Sagana-Marua dual carriage way will be open for use in December 2021.
KeNHA chairman Eng. Wangai Ndirangu said the road whose construction commenced in July this year is now 2 percent done and is being done in two phases.
The first phase of the project will see 36 kilometres of road constructed from Sagana to Marua at a cost of Ksh 6 billion while the second phase will stretch for 48 kilometres from Kenol to Sagana at a cost of Ksh 8 billion.
Eng. Wangai confirmed that the project, expected to be commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta will be about 80 percent done in a period of one year and will be partially operational.
The project has provided employment opportunities to over 400 post-graduate students from the three benefitting counties giving them much needed practical experience.
KeNHA is also partnering with the Kirinyaga County government to establish a 300 million-shilling post-trauma hospital at Sagana town that will especially cater for road accident victims.
The dual carriage way will shorten by half, the journey from Nairobi to Nyeri that currently takes four hours due to heavy traffic.
“We are also upgrading an extra 40 kilometres of road in towns along the highway and establishing fruits sheds for vendors with a safe access from the highway because motorists parking on the shoulders of the road to buy fruits is very dangerous,” he said.
The dual carriage will shorten by half the journey from Nairobi to Nyeri that currently takes four hours due to traffic.
This will in turn reduce the cost of transporting agricultural goods from the Mt. Kenya region that is agriculturally rich and fasten the process.
“The highway will connect areas of production to areas of consumption and connect the Northern Corridor to the Lapsset corridor, boosting the economy of the country as a whole,” he said.
KeNHA, Wangai noted, is also consulting with the concerned county governments to ensure the project is done in a safe and sustainable and safe way.
As construction works continues, numerous investors have pitched camp along the highway to take advantage of the increased traffic that will be occasioned by its dualling.
Hotels and businesses are sporadically emerging from Kenol town that is seen as the gateway to the Mt. Kenya region from the capital city.
The number of vendors lining up on the highway to sell commodities to both motorists and passengers also continue to rise.
At Kambiti ward, an investor has transformed the outlook and the economy of the area after establishing a hotel and a petrol station along the highway, the only one in the area.
Motorists travelling along the area had to travel long distances to access fuel as investors avoiding the Kambiti area that is semi-arid.
Peter Sila, the supervisor at Wandi restaurant said they grabbed the opportunity that was previously un-utilized and opened the eatery at the area in December last year.
“We realized that this entire area had no nowhere that people could fuel their cars and take a bite and had to drive all the way to Makuyu,” he said.
Though the hotel was hard hit by Covid-19, it started picking up after restrictions were eased and is now expecting more business once the dual carriageway is completed.
“The highway will increase the number of people using it once the dual carriageway is done, giving us more business,” he said.
Tens of vendors have positioned themselves opposite the hotel to sell fruits to both passers-by and those patronizing the eatery.
Florence Kabura, a hawker, said she has been selling fruits along the highway for more than 10 years and that the money she makes is able to educate her children.
She lauded the government for upgrading the road saying she will also make more money without endangering her life by sitting by the road side.
“The fruits sheds will turn our designated selling areas into small markets that more motorists will be able to safely access and increase our returns,” she said, noting that the highway is prone to accidents and that many hawkers have lost their lives while selling their wares.
Faith Wangui said Kambiti, unlike other parts of Murang’a County, is agriculturally un-productive due to its unfavorable weather and that only mangoes and oranges do well.
MCA David Irungu said the road will transform the area economically and provide employment opportunities to thousands of youths.
He urged more investors to come out and invest in the area saying mangoes are locally available and can be used to produce fruits juice.
“Kambiti has vast land that can be used to establish industries and hotels along the highway,” the MCA said.
Irungu said after its completed, the dual carriageway will cause the value of property in its vicinity to triple.