Lamu, KENYA: The construction of the Sh.60 Billion Lamu-Garissa-Isiolo highway which is a major component of the upcoming Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport corridor project-LAPSSET has been set for January 2019.
The 530-kilometer stretch road is expected to link the new Lamu port through Garissa, Isiolo, Samburu and wind up at Lokichar in Turkana where it will be enjoined to the Eldoret-Juba Highway.
The road stretch is expected to intersect with the new northbound road to Moyale at Isiolo.
The construction works are being undertaken by the Lamu-Isiolo Road Consortium Limited.
Speaking during a tour of the Lamu road project camp at Kililana,Lamu West on Tuesday, Kenya National Highways Authority-KeNHA Engineer in charge of the Lamu-Garissa-Isiolo Road, George Kiiru said all logistics had been taken care of and that all was set for works to commence in January.
Kiiru, however, said they were putting the final touches to the design works, something he said should be completed before the end of December this year.
He, however, said preceding early works that include bush clearing and the general opening of the road will start in December this year before the actual concrete road construction activities kick off in January next year.
He said the road works have been construed to match up with the completion of the first Lapsset berth in 2019.
“What we are doing right now is finalizing the design works. We are also commencing bush clearing and other activities to open up the road. The actual works start in January next year. We are trying to match up to the speed of the construction of the first Lapsset berths because these components must function alongside each other. The first berth is to be ready by end of 2019 which means by then, we should have covered reasonable progress on the road,” said Kiiru.
The LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority Director General Silvestre Kasuku said the road construction will be undertaken within a 48 month period from the date of commencement in January.
Kasuku expressed confidence that the road will be ready for use by the time the first three berths at the Lapsset site are done in 2020.
“The road project is crucial since it will fully serve the port. We have made the construction team understand that urgency and we have agreed that in 48 months, the road should be ready. That means by 2020, you will be able to drive comfortably and directly from Lamu to Garissa and Isiolo,” said Kasuku.
Kasuku said there was the need for the port and the highway to be developed simultaneously since without a modern road to evacuate and feed it with goods, the port will be a lame duck.
He stated that of all the LAPSSET Corridor project components, the highway will have the widest socio-economic multiplier effects in the northern Kenya Counties.
“That’s why we need it to be ready by the time all the first three LAPSSET berths are ready for operation in the year 2020,” he added.
The road project, particularly the Isiolo-Lokichar fraction is also considered important since it will provide critical logistics support for the construction of the planned Lokichar-Lamu Crude Oil pipeline which is set to commence in 2022.