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Residents hail road construction for boosting development in the region

Turkana county residents have lauded the ongoing road constructions of the 338 km road from Lokichar to Nakodok, at the Kenya-South Sudan border being undertaken through Kenya national highways authority for boosting security and development in the region.

Under the Eastern Africa Regional Transport, Trade and Development Facilitation Project (EATTDFP), residents are now able to enjoy fast transportation from Eldoret to Nadapal (border of Kenya and South Sudan) via the modern A1 road that includes a fibre optic cabre.

The road which includes critical bridges like Kainuk and Kawalse in Turkana county have resolved the perennial deaths and loss of property caused by flooding at the two brides during rainy seasons.

A Bus is swept into river Kawalase in Lodwar on October 19,2020

Turkana County commissioner Muthama Wambua says during his two- year tenure in the county, 12 deaths have been reported at Kawalase bridge in Lodwar not to mention loss of property as trucks and other passenger vehicles are swept into the river.

“Motor vehicle owners who had acquired loans to purchase vehicles are now servicing loans for damaged vehicles after drivers ignored police warnings not to cross flooded rivers,” says Wambua.

Candidates sitting their national examinations now have a reason to smile after the construction of the Kawalase bridge in Lodwar.

In the past, they were forced to sit their examinations in unfamiliar territories as floods made it impossible for them to go back to their homes.

They were made to live with relatives near their schools for fear that floods would make it impossible for them to report to schools.

Educationists say sitting examinations in unfamiliar environments affects academic performance.

Wambua says the improved road has also helped to address insecurity by reducing the time take for security officers to respond to insecurity incidents.

“The vehicles are able to move fast and also the cases of wear and tear of security vehicles have also decreased,” he said.

David Mugambi, a truck driver says attacks of vehicles by highway bandits have also decreased because of the good state of the road.

“In the past the bandits would waylay us on those spots where the road was in bad condition because vehicles moved in slow speeds,” says Mugambi.

We have lost so many people especially at Kakong and Kalomorok in Turkana south sub county stretch due to the poor state of the road, we are thankful the issue has been addressed with the construction of the road,” he added.

Cross border trade has also improved according to the county Kenya national chamber of commerce and industry chairman Pius Ewoton.

Ewoton says more vehicles are now operating from Kakuma to South Sudan due to the good state of the road.

An average of 20 Probox vehicles carrying goods traverse the Lokichoggio- Kapoeta road daily, according to the county commissioner.

Other benefits of the road are the decrease in food prices and other goods such as construction materials due to a reduction in transport costs.

Emily Akai, a vegetable vendor in Lodwar says her business fortunes have improved because she no longer experiences losses that she used to incur as her perishable goods got spoilt on the roads due to poor weather and vehicle breakdowns.

 James Ekutan says the price of cement in Lodwar has dropped to shs 800 from shs 1,000 charged one and a half years ago. He is optimistic that the construction materials prices will drop further once the road construction is completed.

Kenha Deputy director Julius Macodero says the road is divided into five contracts. Most of the contracts are over 80 percent complete.

“Upgrading of the Kainuk bridge is 100 percent complete. Kawalase bridge in Lodwar was completed in November 2020,” he said.

The road project also includes shs 2.9 billion social amenity projects that will include modern schools, health centres, market centres and water projects.

Once completed, the project will completely transform the lives of the residents living in the region, says Wambua.

By Peter Gitonga

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