A contractor undertaking construction works of Missing Link Roads and Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) facilities in Nairobi County at a cost of Sh 4.5 billion has been given six months to complete the work.
The 17.2 km road project funded by the Kenya government in collaboration with the European Union that commenced in May 2014 was expected to be completed in November 2016.
Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) Ltd, project Manager Eng. Emil Flkiu on Monday pledged to the Nairobi County Development Implementation Coordination Committee members (CDICC) that he will complete the projects as scheduled.
“I will mobilise my team and machines to the interchange site, and promise the works will be completed within six months,” assured Flkiu.
The Committee led by the Chair, Nairobi County Commissioner Flora Mworoa, and accompanied by Secretary Kinoti Gatobu from the Presidential Delivery Unit and other members yesterday visited the projects to assess progress, and recommend the way forward to challenges that have delayed completion.
The contractor has so far received a sum of Sh 4.1 billion in payment and is left with a remaining balance of Sh. 500 million.
Some of the challenges identified as having delayed the road for over three years are encroachment of a road reserve at 15A Ring Road Parklands section of Deep Sea where people have erected illegal structures and have refused to vacate from the government land despite receiving compensation to relocate.
The committee was informed that undue influence from Amnesty International who have been defending the Deep Sea Slum residents from relocating has been the major cause of delay in the completion of the road, a matter that is causing the government to incur extra expenditure in maintaining the contractor.
“We carried out a census on the slum area and paid money to the population residing in this place to relocate, some moved, others are still here and have been joined by a new group,” stressed KURAEng. David Mutuohoro, adding that whenever there is an eviction order the culprits rush to court get an injuction.
“At least 60 percent of the people moved out and we still have 647 on the ground,” he noted and added that KURA is still trying to find a way out of the situation.
Speaking during the site visit, Nairobi Eastern Missing Link Project Manager, Eng. David Mutuohoro from Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) told the committee that road 15B in Muthaiga has also stalled because the plot owner has filed a case in court against the National Land Commission regarding compensation.
Others are Nyayo market and Gikomba roads that have been encroached by traders who have refused to vacate.
“The contractor has been unable to do the drainage and footpaths at Gikomba road due to encroachment by mechanics who have turned the road into a garage. We need reinforcement to remove the mechanics to enable the contractor connect the junction linking Ngara and Digo roads,” said Eng.Mutuohoro.
He said the relocation of traders from Gikomba, will also allow the contractor to continue with the extension to Landhies road.
Eng. Mutuohoro announced that more lanes will be added to Lusaka road to make it a dual carriageway, connecting motorists to Mombasa Road junction and Enterprise road junction including Jogoo road.
Roads that have been completed include the Muratina Street missing link that joins Thika road, Mathare hospital up to General Waruinge Street, Quarry Road that joins Parkroad through Ring Road, Ngara Road, Digo road and Gikomba. Carriage ways along Gikomba and footpaths along Enterprise junction to Jogoo road have been concluded.
He at the same time singled out high voltage cables, a railway line, a 450 mm diameter water pipe and a sewer, that required relocation, as some of the challenges that delayed the progress of Likoni Road, an issue he said has been sorted out.
“The challenge we are encountering now is the contractor’s payment for him to commence work at the interchange along the Likoni and Enterprise junction all the way to Jogoo road,” said the Engineer.
“The current status now is that the Principal Secretary for Infrastructure has assured the contractor of government’s commitment to pay for the pending certificate,” noted Mutuohoro.
Ms. Mworoa said she will hold a meeting with the Deputy County Commissioner of Westlands, KURA, European Union, Amnesty International and representatives of the Deep Sea people for a break through, as their continued stay on the road reserve is stalling the Westlands Link road.
“I urge the contractor to continue with the work in other parts while the issues stalling the projects are sorted out,” said the County Commissioner.
On his part, Mr. Gatobu said the contractor should strive to complete the works as he has already received 90 percent of the money whereas works done is only 71.5 percent.
“With the few challenges facing the contractor, I am confident that the project will be delivered to the Kenyan people,” he added and congratulated KURA for the work they have done in Nairobi County and other parts of the country.
The contractor had stopped the construction and removed his machines from the site on December 22, 2018 due to delays in payment, which was occasioned by encroachment on road reserves and pathways, and a court case.
“Last week the contractor partially received payment of Sh. 126 million from the Kenya government, and is likely to receive another payment from European Union,” said Eng. Mutuohoro.
By Bernadette Khaduli