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State committed to enhance transport networks in a regionally balanced way

 Kenya's infrastructure funding gap currently stands at Sh178.5 billion per annum.

The Vision 2030 development blueprint aims to improve the livelihoods of Kenyans through enhanced and sustained economic growth.  The Government is resolutely implementing the enabling environment required for attainment of these development objectives and encouraging improvements in key economic indicators have been recorded.

The Government is well aware that in the transport sector, the improved economic situation is reflected in a rapidly increasing vehicle population and is generating commensurate increases in the demand for cost-effective and timely movement of people and goods.

In order to ensure that the national road network fulfils its role in meeting this demand, including providing adequate national and international connectivity, four broad approaches are being applied.

First we have embarked on a routine maintenance of existing roads. Under this approach, maintenance measures are applied to maximise the service life of existing roads.

Secondly, we have also kicked on a programme for the rehabilitation of existing roads. Under this approach, existing roads whose pavements have depleted their service life or which require significant strengthening are reconstructed or receive periodic maintenance measures such as bituminous overlays.

Meanwhile we are also upgrading of roads to bitumen standard. Under this approach, unpaved roads are upgraded to bitumen standard so as to connect rural market centres and social amenities to the national trunk road network.

The ongoing Low Volume Sealed Roads initiative under which an initial 4,000km of roads will be upgraded to bitumen standard falls in this category. An additional 800km of trunk roads conveying higher traffic volumes are also being upgraded.

Fourthly the state is implementing capacity enhancement of highly trafficked roads.

Under this approach, measures are undertaken to manage increased traffic and mitigate congestion.

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While the Government is simultaneously implementing all of the above approaches, the capacity enhancement of highly trafficked roads is receiving particular emphasis as elaborated below.

A given transport link, such as a road section, has a certain maximum capacity to convey people and goods. This maximum capacity, in turn, depends on the configuration and features of the link in question as well as the nature of traffic that it conveys.

When the volume of traffic using a given road begins to approach the maximum capacity, the level of service experienced by users is reduced and in the event that capacity is exceeded, traffic congestion occurs.

In order to increase the traffic carrying capacity of those roads and related facilities which are at risk of exceeding their design volume, the Government is implementing various initiatives.

These initiatives comprise various technical interventions and options such as providing grade separated junctions (flyovers) at busy junctions, increasing the number of lanes or carriageways and provision of Service roads including facilities for non-motorised traffic and reconstructing pavements so as to provide wider and safer cross sections and/or improved vertical and horizontal alignments.

This also involves the introduction of improved facilities for axle load control and border crossing formalities

The above technical interventions may be applied singly or in combination at a given location depending on needs.

The Government is also cognisant that capacity enhancement of several other highways and road corridors is necessary and is preparing to apply some of the aforementioned technical options.

These highways include capacity enhancement of Mariakani – Machakos Turnoff corridor, capacity enhancement of Rironi – Nakuru – Mau Summit corridor, capacity enhancement of Kenol – Muranga – Sagana – Marua – Nanyuki – Isiolo – Moyale corridor and capacity enhancement of Kenol – Makutano – Mwea – Embu – Meru –Isiolo corridor as well as the construction of Mombasa Northern By-Pass.

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Complementary initiatives which will also mitigate traffic congestion on roads include provision of standard gauge railway to improve movement of heavy cargo on the Northern Corridor and introduction of mass rapid transit systems in urban areas.

The various congestion-alleviation initiatives are in harmony with each other and are regionally balanced.

Among the initiatives being pursued is  the capacity enhancement by way of two corridors that is  Kenol – Muranga –  Sagana – Marua – Nanyuki – Isiolo – Moyale corridor and the Kenol – Makutano – Mwea – Embu – Meru – Isiolo corridor as stated by His Excellency the President Uhuru Kenyatta during his recent Central Kenya Tour.

As the Ministry endeavours to implement the above with all due speed and diligence, including making the required technical, financing and procurement arrangements, we request and look forward to the cooperation and patience of the public at large and road users in particular.

CS-Macharia-By James Macharia, Cabinet Secretary, Transport and Infrastructure

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