Kenyan Urban Roads Authority (KURA), mandated to develop, rehabilitate and maintain urban roads in the country has intensified infrastructural development in major towns in a bid to transform lives of residents.
The Director General, KURA, Silas Kinoti, said that building modern infrastructure in towns is a key enabler for all other economic activities to thrive.
Eng. Kinoti was speaking during the official launch of the Kisumu Lakefront Development Corporation (KLDC), held at the Kisumu Port.
The Corporation was established as a special purpose vehicle to develop and manage the infrastructural and socio-economic activities as well as mobilise resources for lakefront development projects in Kisumu County.
Kinoti noted that the launch marked a key step towards the realization of improved infrastructure in the area, aimed at changing the lives of the dwellers.
Besides, such initiatives would help the country in realising aspirations outlined in Vision 2030 and the Big Four Agenda.
“For the country to attain her targets on economic growth and sustain it, the urban centres must be well functioning,” he said, adding that, building of infrastructure is the most powerful tool in the creation of jobs and the playing field for all businesses.
According to the KURA boss, over 60 per cent of the population is projected to move to the cities in the next few years, hence the need for intensive investments in urban infrastructure.
Furthermore, Kenyans dwelling in towns make a significant contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). About 80 per cent of Kenya’s GDP is generated in the urban centres.
Kinoti applauded the County management for their effort in transforming Kisumu through the provision of better infrastructure, notably the beautiful cabro walkways that has eased public mobility and opening up the lakeside city.
The KURA Boss commended the County for taking bold steps in dealing with road encroachers, adding that the Authority will work closely with the County Government to ensure the road corridors are used effectively.
KURA intends to expand the 130 km road network that it currently manages within Kisumu and Maseno municipalities by tarmacking and maintaining new roads within the Central Business Division (CBD), Milimani and Tom Mboya Estates.
With the inception of KLDC, the roads Authority has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to design and construct a 46 km walkway stretching from Dunga Beach to Ndere Island to be used by purely non-motorised traffic.
The development of the walkway is meant to link-up the beaches along the lake with the scenic and beautiful tourist spots in the expansive Winam Gulf.
It will comprise of strolling paths, cycle tracks, walkways, and recreational facilities put at strategic locations along Lake Victoria riparian. Phase one of this project will end at Camp David Osori covering a distance of 26km.
The National Government through KURA has offered to support KLDC in conducting feasibility studies, engineering designs, provision and maintenance of the non-motorised transport facilities and building of road drainage systems.
Additionally, KURA has commenced a feasibility study in Kisumu town on Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS), an initiative that leverages on technology to manage traffic.
“There is a high number of vehicles in our towns nowadays, making it impossible to reduce congestion, but we can manage how traffic uses the roads,” says Eng Kinoti.
KURA pioneered the Intelligent Road Traffic Management Systems in Nairobi and plans to set up a similar one in Kisumu before rolling it out to other towns in the country.
ITS employs the use of intelligent traffic lights which are able to do traffic data collection and control traffic flow in towns.
The body has an advanced Traffic Management Center (TMC) – the only one in East and Central Africa that currently manages seven busy junctions in Nairobi’s CBD with plans underway to have the program manage the remaining parts of the capital city.
The TMC consists of engineers, system specialists, and traffic police officers, who monitor the data and respond to any issues, allowing more time to be remotely allocated to congested roads in real time. This helps in the removal of traffic police officers from such congestion crises.
Also speaking at the event, Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, reiterated that the various infrastructural development being witnessed in Kisumu was through the establishment of KLDC.
According to Prof. Nyong’o, the desire to re-awaken Kisumu as a leading commercial, industrial and marine transport hub on Lake Victoria, serving Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi inspired the inception of the Corporation.
“This will help exploit the Blue Economy opportunities, enhance tourism, trade and attract investors for key developments at the lakefront,” said Nyong’o.
The immediate former Auditor General, Dr. Edward Ouko, Chairs the KLDC Board.
By Robert Ojwang’