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State to resume construction of stalled Itare Dam

The National Government will resume construction of the stalled Itare Dam in Kuresoi North in Nakuru County once consultations with various stakeholders are complete and a new contractor identified.

Tourism Principal Secretary Ms Safina Kwekwe said the state was working closely with the project’s implementing body, Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency, local community members and leaders to address issues that stalled the construction which had been scheduled for completion by April 2021.

Ms Kwekwe who led a special team of top government officials in inspecting public-funded projects in Nakuru County acknowledged the project had faced an array of challenges ranging from compensation, alleged flawed procurement processes and numerous court cases.

“The concerns raised over the project that stalled in September 2018 when the contractor left site citing financial reasons are being dealt with and a new company will soon be given the green light to complete the project. The state is committed to amicably ironing out all thorny issues,” indicated Ms Kwekwe.

Speaking at the dam’s construction site, the Tourism Principal Secretary stated once complete, the multi-billion project will provide clean drinking water to about 800,000 residents of Nakuru County. The dam is expected to yield 100,000 cubic meters of water per day.

Ms Kwekwe was accompanied by Principal Secretaries Nelson Marwa (Social Protection), Professor Paul Maringa (Infrastructure), Engineer Peter Tum (Labour), Ambassador Peter Kirimi Kaberia (Mining) and Ambassador Simon Nabukwesi (University Education snd Research) and Deputy Head of Civil Service Wanyama Musiambo. Also present were Nakuru County Commissioner Erastus Mbui Mwenda and Njoro Member of Parliament Charity Kathambi Chepkwony).

The team also directed truck drivers using the newly completed Mauche-Bombo-Olenguruone-Kiptagich-Silibwet Road to adhere to the harmonized East African Community (EAC) axle load regulations and check on overloading that destroys roads.

Professor Maringa said the team was satisfied with the quality of work on the 126-kilometer Mauche-Bombo-Olenguruone-Kiptagich-Silibwet Road at a cost of Sh. 3.5 billion, which had kicked off in February 2017 and was now 100 percent complete.

While revealing that erecting of signs on the road would be completed within the next three weeks, the Principal Secretary for Infrastructure said in the near future all trucks will have to go through weighbridges to ensure they comply with the authorized axle load limit.

“This will lead to efficient and effective control of vehicle overloading on the road as a basis for reducing accelerated deterioration of road networks and transport costs.

The law compels truck drivers to observe an axle load limit of 56 tonnes and maximum seven axles for commercial trucks plying the regional road network,” noted Professor Maringa.

At Ngala School for Deaf and Special Needs Pupils, Mr. Marwa revealed that the National government would spend Sh. 2 million in expanding a boy’s dormitory at the institution.

Marwa observed that as schools reopen after a 10-month break occasioned by the pandemic there was an urgent need for construction and equipping of more dormitories, classes, and other amenities to achieve social distancing among learners.

“Notwithstanding the economic loss brought by Covid-19 pandemic, the government is committed to proper planning and investing more in Special Needs schools to avert the widespread virus,” offered the Social Protection PS.

At Itare dam, the team established that the contractor, Cooperativa Muratoi Cementisti Di Ravenna completed only 30 percent of the work including dam foundation, treatment plant, outlet tunnel and pipeline, leaving out almost 70 per cent of the work. CMC Di Ravenna filed for bankruptcy three years ago.

Experts indicated that the pending works at Itare dam could take another one and a half years for a new contractor to complete.

by Anne Mwale

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