The government has been forced to relocate a crucial fibre optic cable to avoid internet outages when work on the Sh160 billion toll highway from Nairobi to Mau Summit begins in September.
The ICT ministry wants to relocate the internet cables by end of next month ahead of the construction of the 234-kilometre highway that passes through Nakuru.
“The government requires the relocation of utilities by July 31, 2021. State Department of ICT and Innovation will undertake the relocation of fibre infrastructure to minimise downtime,” says the ICT ministry.
One of the key ICT infrastructure running along the road is the National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (Nofbi) project that started in 2005, as the State moved to connect all major towns with high-speed broadband internet.
Currently, Nofbi fibre optic ring passes through 58 towns in 35 counties across Kenya.
Relocation of the optic cable will be in four lots: Rironi-Naivasha via Mai Mahiu, Rironi-Naivasha, Naivasha-Nakuru and Nakuru-Mau Summit.
The new design will integrate into Nofbi and connect to all government sites and institutions along the road as well as to the existing licensed internet service providers and telcos.
The Nairobi-Mau Summit road project is part of the Trans-African Highway—the main transport route serving East and Central African countries from the port of Mombasa.
Kenya last year awarded the highway contract to Rift Valley Highway Limited—a French consortium made up of Vinci Highways SAS, Meridian Infrastructure Africa Fund, and Vinci Concessions SAS.
The project seeks to expand the road into a four-lane dual carriageway through a Public-Private Partnership model.
The consortium is expected to design, finance, construct, operate and maintain the road, recouping their investment through toll charges over 30 years.
The project will also involve widening the existing Rironi–Mai Mahiu–Naivasha road to a seven-metre carriageway with two-metre shoulders on both sides.
The contractor will also construct a four-kilometre elevated highway through Nakuru town, build and improve interchanges along the highway.