The County Government of Nakuru has started a Sh80 million project within the Central Business District to construct telecommunications ducts aimed at reducing the number of fibre optic cuts, saving millions of shillings lost in repairs and downtime.
Nakuru City Manager Gitau Thabanja says the ducts which will be shared by all providers are expected to be ready by May this year, and will initially be used to lay Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera and street light cables that are being installed by the County Government along Kenyatta Avenue, Mburu Gichua and Moi Roads.
The move is set to benefit providers such as Airtel, Safaricom and Telkom Kenya among others that have invested billions of shillings in fiber optic infrastructure and incur millions in repairs and maintenance.
The utility ducts will enable installation of cables without having to dig up roads within the CBD.
“We are building the ducts so that whenever a new Telco operator opens shop in Nakuru, it does not have to excavate. They now will be only required to obtain authorization after making necessary payments, to lay their cables in the utility ducts. In the past, such excavations, besides causing damage to existing cables, have also disrupted movement of people and vehicles,” Mr Thabanja pointed out.
He stated that the county administration is keen on ending numerous complaints from the telcos, about destruction of fibre optic cables which happens after work on major water and road projects have started.
The project, the City Manager indicated, is in line with the Central Government’s National Broadband Strategy which among other things seeks to reduce the cost of doing business by ensuring that operators share infrastructure.
Speaking when he inspected progress of the project, Mr Thabanja said the devolved unit is keen on supporting the national government’s efforts to boost the uptake of quality Internet, adding that a growing number of Kenyans had embraced online jobs and e-government services.
“The operators have invested heavily in Nakuru City. The telecommunications ducts are one of the ways through which we will be seeking to protect such investments. In future, we will extend the project outside the CBD especially in those areas that experience high rates of uncontrolled development,” he said.
Mr Thabanja appealed for calm from business persons whose premises had been affected by the project and sought to assure them it will be completed within stipulated timelines.
He added, “The county administration is conscious of the fact that excavation works have disrupted movement of vehicles and caused obstructions to some businesses. We appeal for patience as the utility ducts will be a permanent solution to recurrent excavations in the CBD.”
Ann Nyambura, a pharmacist running a drugs outlet along Kenyatta Avenue, called on the county government to implement the project in phases as businesses were making losses due to the trenches that limit movement of people and goods.
Secretary to Nakuru-East resident’s association, Ibrahim Ogeto, hailed the project as ‘noble’ and an inducement to investments but urged the devolved unit to protect interests of existing businesses by involving them in consultations before major projects kick off.
Meanwhile, the Nakuru City Management board has issued a notice to building owners and the general public on a raft of guidelines within the city.
In a notice dated January 20, 2022 signed by Mr Thabanja, building owners are required to paint premises and ensure they are well maintained including ensuring rain water gutters are fixed as well as remove obstructive materials such as billboards, placards and posters on walkways to ensure safe and free movement.
All building owners have been directed to ensure proper disposal of garbage from their premises and that none finds its way into public designated spaces.
“Persons with illegal developments such as kiosks and car wash points on road reserves will be required to relocate to formally designated and user compatible areas and those not in compliance removed within a hundred (100) days.
All taxis, motorcycles and Tuk Tuk owners should ensure their automobiles are located in their designated pick up areas. All building owners to ensure drainage around their premises comply with the Public Health Act,” reads the notice in part.
The County Government has ordered all hawkers and street vendors particularly those operating along the Nakuru-Nairobi highway, Kenyatta Avenue and East Road to relocate to designated markets while all private cars must be parked at designated spaces and not on pedestrian walkways and pavements.
“All owners of developments that do not comply with the building code, relevant bylaws and do not have the relevant approvals must regularise the said development by submitting their applications within ninety days for scrutiny and subsequent approval to the City Board of Nakuru,” states the notice.
By Jane Ngugi and Dennis Rasto