The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has floated an international tender for construction of two sections of the Isiolo-Mand-era road.
The contract will cover the first section between Isiolo and Kulamawe (77km) while the second part is the 127km Kulamawe-Modogashe road.
The road is being built under the North Eastern Improvement Project (NEIP) that has been divided into nine lots, all of which are in different stages of design, design review by the World Bank which is the main financier.
The two lots are part of the 748km road that will cost Sh85 billion and as the largest infrastructure project in northern Kenya, it is expected to transform the region and improve security.
In a notice in local dailies last week, KeNHA said the government had applied for funding from the World Bank to finance the project, and called on interested firms to apply for the tender.
“All bids must be accompanied by a security of Sh140 million for lot 1 and Sh180 million for lot two,” KenHA said in the notice adding that the bids close on April 28.
Charles Njogu, KeNHA assistant director of corporate communications, said after opening of the bids, they will be evaluated and the contract awarded to the winner with construction projected to start later this year.
The project has already received Sh500 million from the World Bank for mobilisation, part of the first batch of Sh50 billion that has been secured to build the first 350km.
“Funding for the rest of the distance will be sourced in course of the project which will also incorporate a fibre optic cable network and other social amenities,” said an engineer who is involved in planning of the project.
According to KeNHA, the financing proposal for the 68km Modogashe-Samatar section will also soon be presented to Treasury and World Bank for confirmation.
Once complete, the Isiolo-Mandera highway will cut time taken to travel from Nairobi to Mandera from the current five days during rainy season to less than 48 hours besides improving security in the volatile area prone to attacks by the Al-Shabab terrorists.
Ali Nur, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) eastern region commissioner, said construction of the road would be a major boost to the region, adding that it would improve the business environment.