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Plan to open up link to Eastern bypass

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 26 – Roads Minister Franklin Bett said he will begin talks Friday, concerning Githurai-Mwihoko link road to the new Eastern by-pass.

The Minister, who was touring the Thika Road construction on Thursday said paving the Githurai-Mwihoko link road will help ease traffic on Thika Road, which is already operating beyond capacity carrying more than 30,000 vehicles per day.

"We will find funds to link up the roundabout [Githurai] to touch the Eastern by-pass. It will reduce traffic on Thika road, and some of the traffic on the Eastern by-pass. It will assist people going to Kiambu or into town instead of struggling on Thika Road," he said.

Mr Bett also addressed the issue of transporters continuously breaching the axle load limits and bribing their way through weighing points.

He warned of strict measures against violators, starting next month including the Ministry\’s efforts to curb the vice by fixing weigh bridges and installing surveillance cameras.

"We cannot provide roads for the people of this country only to be destroyed by a few individuals. People must go by the prescribed weight. The weight of your goods together with the vehicle; 48 tonnes, if it is beyond that; straight to court," he cautioned.

The Minister also said completing by-passes will be a key task for the next fiscal year.

"We\’ve identified Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret, Meru and Kisumu to be in need of by-passes. Most of those by-passes have already been designed or under design. I insist a by-pass is 18 kilometres, if is 45 kilometres that is another road," he said.

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The Kisumu by-pass is set for construction between Nyamasaria into Kisiani as well as the Southern by-pass from the US embassy to Kikuyu.

With 20 percent of the Sh36 billion allotted to the Roads Ministry this passed fiscal year, still uncommitted, the Minister said he is awaiting evaluations on projects before those remaining funds can be distributed.

"As soon as the evaluations are completed they will take away, on commitment, a chunk of that money. There are also funds from our development partners with conditionalities. So even if the money is on budget we cannot challenge them," he explained.

The Ministry expects Sh104 billion in the upcoming budget to pump into completing bypass projects and the ongoing Thika Road construction set for completion in March 2012.

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