Ten international contractors are bidding to rebuild the Timboroa-Eldoret road at a cost of Sh5 billion, the only remaining section of Kenya’s main trunk road that is yet to be improved.
The section is part of the Northern Transport Corridor, the main transit route to the landlocked Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
When the bids were opened on Friday, most of the bidders turned out to be builders from China who have in recent years dominated the multi-billion shilling road contruction projects in Kenya.
They are Zhongmei Ltd, China Road and Bridge Construction, SinoHydro Corporation Limited, China Henan International, China Railway Seven Group and China Wu Yi Limited.
They will be up against SBI International , H Young Company Ltd , Austrian firm Strabag International and PLL Intex JV. The award would be announced before end of the year.
“We will pick the best evaluated bid by December. We will take three years to complete the project,” said the Kenya National Highways Agency chief executive officer, Mr Michael Kidenda. The agency is responsible for maintenance of highways.
The project will be financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) amid fears that continued weakening of the shilling could push up the cost of materials by almost a billion shillings.
AfDB has committed $53.4-million (about Sh4.97 billion) for the project.
The project involves repair of the 73km road to a bituminous standard (Asphalt Hot Mix) road passing through Timboroa, Nabkoi, Kondoo, Burnt Forest, Cheptiret and Eldoret.
The road is expected to enhance access to the rich agricultural region,which last underwent repairs in 1992. It is estimated that 4,200 vehicles use the section daily.
The other sections of the northern corridor have been rehabilitated with financing by the European Union and the World Bank through the bank’s Northern Corridor Transport Improvement Project, an infrastructure improvement project funded by the International Development Agency, which covers road and air transport.