, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 17 – The Transport and Infrastructure Ministry has given assurance that the first phase of constructing 5.4 kilometres of roads within Upper Hill area will be completed by June this year.
Nairobi motorists plying the roads in Upper Hill have continued to endure heavy traffic jams and dust for months, after the project halted mid last year.
Infrastructure Principal Secretary John Mosonik however says the contractor is not to blame, attributing the six-month setback to delays in the release of the second batch of the payment to allow smooth continuation of the project.
Speaking to Capital FM Business, Mosonik said the construction by Mattan Contractor Limited has resumed.
“There was a slight delay on the budget which was allocated to KURA (Kenya Urban Roads Authority) because it was actually devolved to the counties. So during the first three to four months of this financial year, we didn’t actually do so much because we never paid the contractor,” Mosonik said.
The government had initially paid Sh431 million to the contractor out of the total Sh2 billion expected to cost the full project.
The affected six roads in the area include Hospital Road, Elgon Road, Kilimanjaro Road, Bunyala Road, Mara Road and Upper Hill Road.
“For the last one month, the contractor has been on site and he is working day and night to make sure he finishes the project. Now the progress is very good,” he said.
According to KURA, only 38 percent of the construction had been complete by end of last year since construction began on May 23, 2012.
This comes even as the ministry prepares an amendment to the current Kenya Roads Act 2007 to give a clear guideline on which roads to be managed by the County Governments and the National Government in future.
According to the Act, all road construction and maintenance remain the mandate of the National Government.
The amendment bill will be ready by the end of February and taken to Parliament for approval in March this year.
Management of roads has been a contentious issue in the transition process, with Governors arguing the role squarely falls in their jurisdiction and not the National Government.