The Government has assured construction workers on the Sh.10.8 billion Minjila-Mokowe (Lamu) road in Tana River and Lamu Counties of adequate security.
The Tana River County Commissioner (CC), Oning’oi Ole Sosio, who toured the road on Wednesday, said the government had employed a multi-agency security team to secure the road to enable the smooth construction of the road.
There have been security concerns following a spate of attacks by suspected terrorist militia groups along the road, especially at Nyongoro and Lango la Simba areas adjacent to the border between the two counties.
“We have employed a multi-agency approach to security that has yielded fruit and we believe this will continue till the project is completed,” he told the construction workers at Idsowe in Tana River and Witu in Lamu County.
The 134-lilometre road is being constructed by Chinese construction company H-Young at a cost of Sh.10.8 billion and is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
H-Young officials at the main construction camp in Witu lauded the Kenya Defence Forces and other security agencies for intensifying patrols along the road, a thing he said had given confidence to his staff.
They told the County Security Committee led by Sosio that 20 kilometres of the road were already on tarmac and that substantial work had already been done on the road’s foundation.
“People are only interested in seeing the tarmac, but a lot of work is done before the tarmac can be seen,” one official said. He did not provide his name for fear of being quoted in the media, which he said was against protocol.
The official said his company would complete the works as scheduled, subject to settlement of claims.
“If we are paid in time, we will complete our work as agreed upon in the contract,” he said, adding that the cost of materials was too high and only prompt payments can make the work easier.
The construction, which is expected to give the road a major face-lift from earth to bitumen standards, is being funded by the national government through the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA).
Suspected terrorists have in the past wreaked havoc on the road, attacking motorists and destroying high voltage power pylons.
However, the multi-agency security team has managed to reduce the attacks, which mainly take place on the earth sections of the road.
Sosio said the government was still providing security escort to motorists plying the road to avert any attacks.
It is expected that when the project is completed, the attacks will be completely eradicated as terrorists thrive on the poor state of the road to launch their attacks.
By Emmanuel Masha