The ongoing construction of the Sh1.1 billion Mokowe urban road in Lamu County is only 23 percent complete but its advantages are already being felt.
The Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura), which is undertaking the project, says the project has so far employed more than 100 youth who previously had no jobs.
“As Kura, we have trained about 11 youth from Lamu on various skills related to road construction. As we speak, the youth are part of the team constructing the road at Mokowe. Other youth who previously had no job have also been recruited,” said Mr Cheboi.
Locals interviewed by Shipping in the area said the road project has provided jobs to the youth, driving them away from vices, such as theft.
“Youth who were posing a threat to security due to idleness caused by lack of meaningful employment are now working as casual labourers. Previously, the youth were engaging in crime,” said Mr Samuel Muiruri, a resident.
Kura Assistant Corporate Communications Director, John Cheboi said construction works are on course with 3.2km out of the 15km complete.
Mr Cheboi said the road is scheduled to be completed in November, 2019.
The road is expected to link all public facilities, improve the general security in the region and facilitate easy access to the Mokowe County Headquarters and its environs.
“I am happy to announce that the Mokowe Road is now 23 percent complete. We are working hard to ensure the November, 2019 deadline is met. Citizens should be rest assured that there will be no changes,” said Mr Cheboi.
Duncan Mwaura, a boda boda operator in Mokowe said before the project started, incidents of theft, mugging and burglary were on the rise.
Mr Mwaura said the safety of boda boda riders has also been improved following the road construction.
“Before the project was launched, many roads in Mokowe were bushy and made it easy for robbers to waylay and kill us. Since the road was constructed, we can now operate with ease at night without having to worry about being robbed or even murdered. Security is now guaranteed,” said Mr Mwaura.
The Mokowe Urban Road project is scheduled to transform the town into a modern urban town to match its upcoming status as the host to Kenya’s second port-the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor.
Apart from providing employment to hundreds of youth and improving security in Mokowe, the project has already begun attracting investments in the area with many business people in Lamu Old town shifting from the trade and tourism hub Island to Mokowe in the mainland.