The much-awaited dualling of Thika highway from Kenol in Murang’a to Nyeri has kicked off.
At a cost of Sh33 billion, the expansion of the busy road to a dual carriageway will be Kenya’s second most expensive road project after the Thika Superhighway.
The 84-kilometre stretch will cut through Kenol township, Kambiti, Makutano, Sagana and Marua.
It is expected the upgrade will immensely benefit about 1.15 million people especially farmers, manufacturers and traders from Murang’a, Nyeri, Machakos, Kirinyaga and Embu counties.
The counties covered by the project mainly grow coffee, tea, potatoes, beans, maize and avocado. Completion of the highway will make it easier to move these farm produce to Nairobi and onward to Mombasa.
When completed the highway is expected to reduce the traveling time between Nyeri and Nairobi by at least one hour.
The expansion project is part of a larger undertaking to link the Northern Corridor (Mombasa – Malaba) to the LAPSSET Corridor that links Lamu port to South Sudan and Ethiopia through Isiolo / Northern Kenya.
The African Development bank lend the Uhuru government a loan of Sh23 billion to undertake the expansion.
Earlier Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru had sought 40 percent of locals to be factored in the contract.
“We wanted an assurance that there will be 40 per cent for our people to build the road. We want to be assured that Kenyan contractors get at least 40 per cent share and we have been assured that will happen,” she said.
She asked for the project to embrace 15 percent of youths, 10 percent of women and 5 percent of people living with disability.