Transporters plying the Narok-Maai Mahiu road will benefit from a Sh13 billion government plan to redevelop the flood-affected 41-kilometre Maai Mahiu-Suswa road section, which will also incorporate an interchange to the new Naivasha inland container depot.
The road, which is one of the main arteries to western Kenya and the world-famous Maasai Mara Reserve, has been closed numerous times during heavy rains with sections being washed off. It has also been affected by faulting in the geologically unstable area.
This has caused millions of shillings in losses for businesses, affected tourist movement to the reserve and forced commuters to use a longer route through Nakuru town.
“The reconstruction of the road (will) ensure smooth communication and travel in all seasons, hence removing the expensive disruptions and rerouting during the wet season. The adopted option is the proposed road that retains the current alignment with a provision for dual carriageway in future,” says the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) in submissions to the National Environment Management Authority (Nema).
“To ensure smooth and safe traffic flow near the ICD and Industrial park, an interchange is to be constructed on pieces of land to be purchased on either side of the road by the proponent. It will also have pedestrian walkways to enable people safely cross the road.”
KeNHA says the road is an important economic contributor to attainment of the vision 2030 and a critical link to Narok and adjoining counties leading to northern Tanzania and to western Kenya.
Narok’s Maasai Mara Game Reserve is Kenya’s prime tourist destination due to its wildebeest migration spectacle that takes place every July to August— dubbed the eighth wonder of the world.
The roads body added that the government is mulling two options for the reinforcement of the road, where one using geo-synthetic material will see it cost Sh13 billion, while the one without will cost Sh11 billion.
The reconstruction would be a shot in the arm for the inland container depot, which has seen transporters complaining of poor access which they say has increased their costs.
The depot is expected to become a transit cargo centre serving Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and eastern DRC.