In what seems to be a clear indication that President Uhuru Kenyatta is keen on retiring, the favourite son of the founding Father of the Nation Mzee Jomo Kenyatta has gifted his home village, Ichaweri, in Gatundu South with a Ksh11 billion project that will upgrade sections of the highway that connects Kiambu and Thika roads into a dual carriageway.
A local media has confirmed that the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has started design work on the 62-kilometre road that is set for completion by June 2022 — two months before the end of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second and final term.
According to KeNHA the sh11 billion road runs from Kiambu Road through Kirigiti, Ngewa, Ichaweri, Gatundu and Mang’u to Thika Road.
“The government has earmarked funds through the development vote for use in engaging the consultancy services to undertake preliminary and detailed engineering design, environmental and social impact study, preliminary and detailed engineering design of Kiambu – Ngewa –Kibichoi (B30) Road,” says an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report seeking approval of the project.
Members of the public have been given 30 days that started last week to give comments on the project ahead of KeNHA tendering for contractors.
The upgrade which is split into five divisions will start from the 12-kilometre stretch from Kiambu Road to Ngewa is set to be turned into dual-carriageway, followed by a single carriage way of the 36-kilometre route from Ngewa to Gatundu through Ichaweri and Mangu. The last 14 kilometres from Mang’u to Thika Road will be dualled.
This will make it the biggest road project in Gatundu since President Kenyatta came to power in 2013.
“The growth of existing market centres along the road corridor — Ngewa, Riobai, Komothai and Gatukuyu — will lead to increased job opportunities and economic activities of the people which will contribute to economic growth within these trading centres,” says the EIA report.
The upgraded road is expected to further spur the growth of real estate in Kiambu which is within the Nairobi Metropolitan Area.
The EIA says the Sh11 billion road will end traffic snarl-ups that are currently common on the Kiambu-Ngewa and the Mang’u-Thika sections due to increased residential property developments hosting people who work in Nairobi and neighbouring townships.
The project is aimed at widening the market and offering better produce prices to tea, coffee, milk, rice and potato farmers, sub-sectors that are critical in putting money in peoples’ pockets, thereby improving their purchasing power and boosting other sectors.