The improvement of the 28-kilometer Busia-Malaba road has not only offered a faster way of transport but also attracted a lot of infrastructural development.
The road which is already 98 percent complete has not only attracted establishment of commercial plots but also peri-urban settlements.
Some of the shopping centers that have come up due to the road improvement include Amerikawi, Angorom, Alupe, Amaase, Asinge, Adungosi, Amairo and Machakusi.
A leisure tour by the writer revealed that the establishment of the above centers has also introduced petrol pumps, Agrovets, small open air markets and modern private health clinics.
Paul Edebe, a civil servant based in Busia says that before the improvement works, the road was a great challenge to drivers plying it.
Edebe vividly recalls how they had to use the alternative route through Nambale Mayoni junction then to Bungoma, a journey that would take around two and a half hours, now reduced to 30 minutes.
“Before the improvement works, we could take around two hours’ to drive from Busia to Malaba but currently we take only 30 minutes,” he says.
He adds that the infrastructure has also made transport easier for farmers while ferrying their produce especially green maize from Teso South Sub County to Busia town.
Isaiah Enyait, a resident of Amaase is happy with the improvement but however laments that lack of bumps along the road has already led to many accidents urging the government to consider erecting bumps to control both motorcycles and vehicles plying the route.
Joshua Okisa, another resident says that the road has come up with a lot of development but agrees with Enyait over the need of bumps to check on speeding motorists while Erick Otwani, boda boda chairman at Amaase stage says that it has brought the government services closer to the locals.
“We want to thank the government for the good initiative, but there is a need to repair a section of the road that is already damaged before its condition worsen. We also need the drainage of running water to be addressed,” he said.
John Olovo, an employee of one of the hotels along the road says that the infrastructure has also made business easier. Olovo adds that the road has made his facility accessible to many customers.
He adds that the road has also improved security within the area as police officers can easily access the area.
Nicholas Obiero, the deputy land registrar in Busia says that the construction of the road has almost doubled the prices of plots adjacent to it.
Obiero attributes the increase of the prices to the fact that various institutions as well as individual developers can now establish commercial areas instead of residential plots.
“Within Alupe area for example, a plot measuring 0.05 hectares is currently selling at Sh3 million as compared to Sh400,000 that it used to attract before,” he says adding that similar plots in Chakol area which used to cost Sh200,000 now exchange at around Sh500,000.
By Salome Alwanda