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Building of 12 km road using cheap Malaysian technology suspended

The Embu government has suspended the construction of the 12.2 kilometre Kibugu road using the cheap Malaysian probase technology.

Infrastructure executive Suleiman Nthiga told the County Assembly on Wednesday that he had received an order from the Ministry of Roads directing them to revert to conventional tarmacking material and process.

Mr Nthiga said they had built 5.8 kilometres of the road at Sh195 million, adding that the remaining portion would be tendered afresh.

He said the county government could not terminate the contract with Probase (K) Ltd to avoid litigation, adding that they directed the company to comply and adhere to set standards.

“We have already communicated to the contractor to revert to cement. Probase Kenya should revert to cement and bitumen and has been asked to give a quotation,” said Mr Nthiga.

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Roads Principal Secretary John Mosonik had earlier this year banned the use of probase technology saying it was only recommended for construction of pavements.

Other counties that have adopted the technology are Meru and Samburu.

Governor Martin Wambora has on various occasions announced plans to tarmac 106 kilometres of roads across the county using the technology.

Mr Nthiga, who was answering questions by MCA Kanjogu Mugo, said that while it was cheaper, probase technology had been billed as more durable than conventional bitumen by county engineers.

“It is presumed to be cheaper, more durable and more desirable than bitumen roads. The roads built by this technology don’t wear out fast,” he said.

Mr Nthiga said all earthworks had been done and murram dumped on the entire 12.2 kilometres of the road. He said construction of the road, initially projected to cost Sh480 million, will be complete by December with the total cost predicted to shoot to over Sh600 million.

Mr Mugo had sought to know why Probase (K) Ltd was not required to deposit a performance security or bond for the contract, saying the contractor had held the county captive for lack of this provision.

The roads executive however said they had revised terms and demanded a performance bond.Runyenjes Central MCA Steve Simba claimed there was a different contract awarded by the national government to tarmac the 106 kilometre ring road, which was part of the road being done by the county government.

The matter was referred to the Committee on Infrastructure after supplementary questions surpassed the one hour time limit allocated to answering of questions by Cabinet Chiefs at the Assembly.

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