Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Meru County government in a move to enhance the construction of a major Highway from Isiolo through the northern parts of Meru County to Mandera.
The 700kms road project estimated to cost about Ksh 100 billion will start at Isiolo Town through parts of Meru County with the first 365 kilometres being covered under phase one that will cost Sh.50 billion.
Speaking after signing the MOU on Wednesday, Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi lauded the project saying the county government will offer a waiver on cess for construction materials that will be found within Meru County.
“We shall facilitate free movement of all construction materials and labour for purposes of construction of this road. That is the support we shall give to make the project cheaper,” Murungi said.
He stated that the road will help in opening up the underutilized northern corridor of the county which is known for livestock production.
In the memorandum signed in the presence of the Meru County Commissioner Allan Machari at his office, KeNHA shall give the county an extra 5kms of tarmac road to connect to various small towns such as Gachuuru, Kulamawe among others lying within the corridor.
The project starts at Isiolo through Meru County with a stretch of 77kms to Kulamawe within Meru County.
The county government has requested for provision of social facilities during the construction owing to the unique challenges in the semi-arid area.
“We have requested that you establish more boreholes along the transport corridor so as to help residents who depend on livestock farming to have access to clean water for their use,” stated the governor.
At the same time Meru County Commissioner Allan Machari has promised to address all the security needs of the contractor once the construction work commences.
Machari said a thorough security audit of the area has been conducted and a comprehensive security management plan will be put in place.
He considered the coming of the road as a blessing for both development and up-scaling of the security coverage in the vast area that has been known for cases of insecurity related to livestock theft.
North Eastern Transport Improvement Project (NETIP) Deputy Director Eng. Paul Odhiambo said tendering of the project was due to be announced but the initial logistics of designing the road has already been done.
He said the road project also includes installation of the underground fibre optics that will cover the entire 700kms unlike the 365kms that is earmarked for phase one.