Construction of the Kenol-Isiolo highway into a dual carriageway is expected to begin mid this year, the government has announced.
Speaking in Nyeri, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Housing and Infrastructure James Macharia said the construction of the Kenol-Nyeri dual carriageway should begin around June.
The project, which has been a major development topic in the Mt Kenya Region, is reportedly at design stage paving way for the procurement stage.
“The project is at the design stage. We are done with the Kenol–Nyeri stretch and are working on the stretch to Isiolo,” Mr Macharia said.
Being a key project for the government, the road is expected to open up the Northern Corridor connecting the Coast to northern Kenya and Ethiopia.
Six counties will benefit directly from the project, which was initially valued at over Sh30 billion.
Kiambu, Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Laikipia and Isiolo Counties will benefit from the project.
Mr Macharia termed the project as a key one for the government and will be prioritised in the coming months.
“Looking at the project, it will cut through at least six or seven counties and that will be a major boost to the region. This is a priority project for the government,” CS Macharia said.
According to the CS, once the designing of the Nyeri-Isiolo stretch is complete, bidding will commence to determine funds to be allocated.
“The actual cost will be determined once we do bidding. That will be around mid this year,” he said.
Already, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has marked out the road and started clearing out businesses set up on the proposed highway.
Investors have also started preparing for the expansion, setting up businesses like hotels and residential and commercial buildings.
At the same time, government has given a three-month timeline for completion of the first phase of Chaka Market in Nyeri County.
During an inspection on Tuesday, Mr Macharia gave a deadline of April 31 for the completion of the first phase.
The market, which has been lagging behind schedule, was initially meant to be completed in October last year but stalled due to funding constraints.
“There were funding issues last year and this delayed the completion. But we are confident that the first phase will be completed by the end of April and commissioned in May,” CS Macharia said.
The first phase of the project is estimated to cost Sh500 million and a similar amount will be spent on the second phase.
“This is a unique project because usually we allocate Sh300 million to market projects but this one will cost Sh1 billion,” he said.
According to Mr Macharia, the market will be designed to incorporate multiple entities including banks, restaurants and saccos. It will have more than 2,000 trading stalls for agricultural traders from the Kieni area.
Kieni Member of Parliament Kanini Kega, who joined the CS for the inspection, expressed gratitude for the renewed vigour in implementing pending projects.
“The president assured our traders that they would not be evicted from where they have been operating and now we are assured that they will get the new market within the given timeline,” Mr Kega said.