Economy

State values road network at Sh3.5trn before audit

Nairobi Expressway

Nairobi Expressway under construction. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

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Summary

  • The Kenya Roads Board (KRB), the agency charged with overseeing development and repairing of roads, has revealed the valuation in the tender seeking consultants to conduct a two-year survey on the condition of Kenyan roads.
  • The valuation of the 246,757.26 kilometres of roads, which include 40,002.34km trunk roads, is more than Kenya’s Sh3.06 trillion budget, highlighting the impact of Jubilee administration’s accelerated investment in roads in the past decade.
  • KRB data says the country has 161,821km classified roads, 34,000km unclassified or new roads with more than nine-metre road reserve and 50,000 km narrow roads that have less than nine-metre road reserve.

Kenya has valued its roads at Sh3.5 trillion ahead of a key audit that will inform maintenance of the vast network, pointing to the impact of huge spending on public infrastructure in the past eight years of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration.

The Kenya Roads Board (KRB), the agency charged with overseeing development and repairing of roads, has revealed the valuation in the tender seeking consultants to conduct a two-year survey on the condition of Kenyan roads.

The valuation of the 246,757.26 kilometres of roads, which include 40,002.34km trunk roads, is more than Kenya’s Sh3.06 trillion budget, highlighting the impact of Jubilee administration’s accelerated investment in roads in the past decade.

KRB data says the country has 161,821km classified roads, 34,000km unclassified or new roads with more than nine-metre road reserve and 50,000 km narrow roads that have less than nine-metre road reserve.

Kenya had 76,100km of roads in 2014, meaning that 85,721km of paved and unpaved roads were added in five years to June 2019. The country has added 10,395km of paved roads from 2010 to close June 2019 with 21,295km.

“Kenya’s road assets are estimated at over Sh3.5 trillion, representing one of the largest public investments in the country,” says KRB.

Official data shows Kenya spent Sh524.76 billion on road development in five years to June 2020, with an additional Sh255.7 billion going to repair and maintenance.

KRB is now searching for a consultant to carry out a road inventory and conditions survey (RICS) — the process of collecting data on the road assets — to inform future investments.

KRB says the findings will provide insight into the condition of the roads and help in making the right maintenance and capital plans.

“The overall objective of this study is to conduct a RICS on the country’s entire road network and its facilities aimed at getting data needed to make informed decisions about the network,” says KRB.

The consultant will be expected to assess the performance of various road sections in terms of their traffic levels, standard of development and safety levels.

The consultant will also collect inventory of bridges and major structures supporting the road network and document their condition. Four other consultants will collect data on the road network in the counties as well as the unclassified roads.

The last road inventory and conditions survey was carried out from 2016 to 2018, showing improved quality and quantity of the network.

KRB says roads in good condition increased from 44 percent in 2009 to 56.9 percent in 2018.

The 2018 study, which was funded by World Bank, also developed a Rural Access Index for each county and a country average figure.

RAI is a global indicator for measuring people’s access to reliable transport in rural areas, usually a pointer to the socio-economic status of people in those places.