Lamu, KENYA: Lamu residents have not known or seen a tarmacked road for the last 55 years thanks to successive regimes that have been accused of ignoring the region.
All they have ever known is the dusty and muddy potholed Lamu-Garsen road, which is the only entry to and from Lamu on land.
Residents have tired themselves out pleading with each regime to build them proper roads to improve movement but above all enable vehicles to easily flee whenever they are pursued by al Shabaab but all that seemed to have been in vain until the Kenya Urban Roads Authority-KURA showed up last year.
Early last year,KURA announced and commenced construction of the first-ever lane of tarmac road in Lamu; a 15-kilometer road in Mokowe town in Lamu West at a cost of Sh.1.1 billion.
The road is already at a 10% completion rate.
Mokowe currently houses the county headquarters after they were moved from Lamu island last year and the road is expected to ease access to the offices.
Speaking in Mokowe on Wednesday, Acting General Manager in charge of special programmes at KURA Mohamed Abdulrashid is confident that the road will be completed by November 2019.
“We have already completed tarmacking the first 1.5km out of the entire 15-kilometer road. Work is still in progress and we expect the whole project to be complete by November next year,” said Abdulrashid.
Mokowe is also the hometown to the forthcoming new Lamu Port LAPSSET and continues to attract major investors ad entrepreneurs in line with the port.
As early as now, Mokowe township has already started getting the buzz with many traders and businesses shifting base from Lamu town where they had been concentrated to Mokowe which is now considered the new hub,all thanks to the new tarmac road.
Speaking in Lamu town on Wednesday, Lamu County Executive for Tourism, Trade and Industrialization Dismas Mwasambu said upon completion, the Mokowe road is expected to open up the town and the entire county to more trade and industrial activities.
“This road alone has spurred economic development. We have seen growth in trade and many investors have already been attracted to the town which borders the new LAPSSET. We thank KURA for coming up and sponsoring such a mega project in our county.We know there is still more to look forward to,” said Mwasambu.
Mwasambu said improvement of the road network in Mokowe and in the entire County will also boost the trade and tourism sector by attracting more tourists.
Residents are also upbeat that the construction of the road will open up more fortunes for them having already employed hundreds of youths as casuals in the project.
“We have quite a huge number of youth employed in the construction of the road.But we are especially glad about the future.Mokowe will become the biggest a business hub in the coastal region and we can’t wait for that time to come after all we are the hosts of the LAPSSET, which will be the biggest ever port in this part of Africa,” said. Abdulrahman Abeid.