A Chinese construction firm is set to pocket billions of money from building a murram road. The State-owned China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), in a joint venture with engineering firm Territorial Works Ltd, will pocket Sh. 27.29 billion from upgrading the Lamu-Ijara-Garissa road to an all-weather gravel road.

This means that the firm will pocket Sh. 60 million for every kilometre of road that will be constructed. This cost will be higher than the cost of building some tarmac roads in the East African region.

According to a report that appeared in the Daily Nation on Friday, the murram road networks will cover 453 kilometres. The main stretch from Lamu to Garissa through Ijara will cover 257 kilometres, the Hindi-Bodhei-Basuba-Kiunga section 113 kilometres and the Ijara-Sangailu-Hulugho part 83 kilometres.

“Once completed, the roads will open up the volatile region by facilitating the transport of goods between Lamu, southern Ethiopia and Somalia and improving security. But the steep cost of the project is puzzling, given that there will be no high land compensation costs and huge provisions for relocating critical infrastructure utilities, factors that the ministry usually blames for bloated costs of roads projects,” the report said.

This is the latest in a series of mega projects by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government that have attracted extremely high costs of construction that do not match return on value. Already, the National Treasury has stated that this project will be highly prioritized.

“The Department will prioritise the completion of Nairobi Expressway, James Gichuru-Rironi Road, Construction of Mombasa Port Area Road Development Project, upgrading of Lamu-Ijara-Garissa road to all-weather standard, Mau Mau roads, Kenol-Sagana-Marua Project, completion of Nairobi Western Bypass,” Treasury said in the budget statement. Incidentally, all these roads will consume billions of money, with the Rironi Mau Summit highway expected to be the most expensive project undertaken in the country since independence.

By Bizna Kenya

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