Economy

Agencies fight over Londiani-Muhoroni road maintenance

road

A crack on the Muhoroni-Londiani road bridge that collapsed after past heavy rains. PHOTO | TOM OTIENO

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Summary

  • Kerra has applied to return the road’s ownership to the KeNHA which oversaw its construction at a cost of Sh5.2 billion in 2014.
  • Both agencies are now claiming to be seeking funds for its improvement, even though in the past each tried to pass the buck on its oversight.

The tussle over responsibility for the Londiani-Muhoroni road between two State agencies has put its maintenance in limbo, with concerns that the road was not fully completed when it was opened for use six years ago.

The Kenya Rural Roads Authority (Kerra) has applied to return the road’s ownership to the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) which oversaw its construction at a cost of Sh5.2 billion in 2014.

Both agencies are now claiming to be seeking funds for its improvement, even though in the past each tried to pass the buck on its oversight.

Kerra admits that the road was not fully done with more than half of the 63-kilometre stretch remaining unmarked and signage missing.

The agency said the road was handed over to it “in its present status” and that it was sourcing for funds to maintain it, effectively pointing a finger at KeNHA which contracted the Chinese firm that built it.

“The Authority is making arrangements to carry out road marking through support from the State Department of Infrastructure and the National Treasury by way of budget provision for the same. Once funding is secured, the exercise shall be duly contracted and completed,” Kerra said in a statement responding to queries about the poor construction of the road.

KeNHA accepted having overseen the construction of the road, including placing it under a 24-month defect liability period under the contractor, Jiangxi Zhongmei Construction Company.

The agency said the road was handed over to Kerra after it was reclassified in 2016 but is set to be returned.

“Following a reclassification of the roads by the Government, the road was meant for transfer and handing over to Kerra. However, an appeal has been made, and the road has been slated for re-transfer to KeNHA. KeNHA has, therefore, now placed it under scheduled maintenance works programme in the coming financial year,” KeNHA communication manager Charles Njogu said.

The two roads agencies had both disowned the road in 2018 after 56 people perished in a night accident near Fort Ternan, with its poor signage cited as a key contributor to the frequent night accidents.