Transporters are leading a protest against the government about the slow pace of building a road, which they say is a key link for farmers and tourism investors.
The Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) says work on the Mariakani- Kaloleni-Mavueni road should be expedited to open up the region’s investment, tourism, and agricultural production.
“Construction of this road should be expedited as a short-term measure to free traffic from the Miritini road before plans to expand the highway get under way,” said the KTA chief executive officer Jane Njeru.
Saying the works have dragged for more than seven years, the team comprising regional pressure groups, businesses and think-tanks yesterday explained the snail-pace hurts the potential of the area when traders cannot access markets due to congestion.
The transporters said the road would help to decongest the Mombasa-Nairobi highway along the Miritini stretch, which carries a lot of trucks from the port.
Dr William Kingi, the chairman Kilifi County Strategic Think Tank claimed the ministry was not keen on completion of the project, going by the pace of the work.
The road is an important agricultural route, which is also an alternative bypass for tourists visiting Tsavo National Park from the North Coast.
A Kenya National Highways Authority employee who did not want to be named accused contractors of ignoring the ministry’s procedure and schedule.
“The road should have been tarmacked long time ago,” said the officer. Efforts to reach the Authority’s boss director general Meshack Kidenda were fruitless as his phone went unanswered.
Last week residents formed a committee that incorporates the roads agencies, Kenya Ports Authority, the transporters lobby, and freight stations to push for the completion of the project now in its seventh year.
Kaloleni MP Munga Gunga said he would meet with the Kaloleni District Commissioner to register the concerns and discuss the impact of the delay on the development of the county.
KTA says it will work closely with the county government to come up with the formula for decongesting the section of the road, especially outside the island.