Shipping & Logistics

South Rift sees Sh5.6bn road unlocking economy, bringing peace

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Job Kibet, a farmer at Salawa in Baringo North, at the semi-arid Kerio Valley region tends to his kales crops. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG

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Summary

  • The construction of a road connecting three counties of Baringo, West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet at a cost of Sh5.6 billion is expected to unlock economic fortunes in the region.
  • Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos is optimistic that once completed, the new road will open up the region and spur economic growth and development.

The construction of a road connecting three counties of Baringo, West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet at a cost of Sh5.6 billion is expected to unlock economic fortunes in the region while addressing run-away insecurity along the volatile Kerio Valley.

Despite the huge potential in terms of horticultural fruit production such as mangoes and livestock, the region has lagged behind due to insecurity and poor infrastructure.

Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) chairman Wangai Ndirangu said the construction of the 46km Tot-Chesegon-Kopasi River road will cost Sh5.6 billion.

Mr Ndirangu noted that the current Kilangata-Chesongoch road which has been a nightmare to truck drivers who transport mangoes to Eldoret and other markets in the region will also be upgraded to bitumen.

“We expect work to begin in January. Other than the main road, we will also do Kilangata-Chesongoch which is a 16km stretch and other access roads like Tot Loop road which is 0.5km, GSU Camp at Soko Bora and Kapkobil Police post which makes another 0.7Km,” he said, during a public participation and awareness forum at Chesongoch, Marakwet East.

The new road will consist of a parking yard at Tot and a peace monument. Its construction is expected to start in January and is expected to be completed by October 2024.

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos is optimistic that once completed, the new road will open up the region and spur economic growth and development.

“Once this road is complete, the economy of the area will open up. Many of our people have relocated owing to the state of the roads in the area and insecurity,” he said.

"We have seen how farmers in this region suffer due to poor roads. Their mangoes often go bad and with the road now being improved to bitumen standard, this will be a thing of the past".

According to Miriam Cherop, a local resident and a businesswoman, the road network will stimulate business opportunities in the region.

“We are really grateful for this new project. We are optimistic that it helps us access markets for our produce,” she says.

She added that in the past, lorries posed a lot of danger to the residents who live downhill at times due to brake failure.