The government has finalized plans to upgrade a section of the Marsabit- North-Horr road to bitumen standard.
The works to tarmac the 23.5 kilometer Marsabit-Segel road at a cost of Sh 2.7 billion aims at facilitating the socio-economic development in that remote part of Marsabit County.
Eng Joel Wairua of Moti Consultants told a county development implementation coordination committee (CDICC) that it would take the Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA), the implementing agency 42 months to complete the project.
Eng Wairua said that apart from providing the residents with a reliable road link to the main Moyale –Nairobi highway, the project would offer many of both skilled and unskilled jobs to locals.
The project would also see about five kilometers of access roads within Marsabit town tarmacked.
The consultant told the meeting that was chaired by Marsabit county commissioner Paul Rotich that the contractor was on site having been advanced Sh 222 million.
Besides getting a sustainable and safe road, the community would also reap huge corporate social responsibility (CSR) benefits as six boreholes and an equal number of water pans of 7,500 m3 capacity would be developed.
Though the contractor expects to draw water from the sources for use in the construction, the facilities would be handed over to the residents once the implementation of the project is completed.
The County Commissioner called for prudent use of public funds to ensure the problem of poor road network in the area is adequately addressed.
Rotich pointed out that transportation of goods to and from North Horr to Marsabit and other parts of the country was high which he said would be taken care of by the upgrading of the road to bitumen standards.
The county commissioner added that security would also be improved owing to eased movement and enhanced patrols.
On health, Rotich said awareness campaigns on HIV/Aids to the workers and staff should be given priority as well.
The tarmacking of the road to Segel from Marsabit is expected to hasten to completion of a Sh 1.6 billion abattoir that has dragged on for many years.
Livestock rearing is the backbone of the county’s economy which has a rearing strength of 4 million big and small livestock and it is believed that with the construction of the abattoir herders not only from Marsabit but the entire northern region of the country would get market and value for their livestock.
However, the consultant informed the committee that the project has started encountering hurdles in the form of land acquisition and relocation of homesteads and utilities.
Wairua said relocation of KPLC electrical poles some of which were elected almost in the middle of the road reserve as well as compensation for human occupied land was proving to be a challenge but that negotiations had started with stakeholders.
By Sebastian Miriti