Kenya is set to commence tarmacking of 740 km Isiolo and Mandera highway. Isiolo County Commissioner Mr. Joseph Kanyiri confirmed the report and said that security measures are in place according to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the government and the development partners.
The road project will be implemented through North Eastern Transport Improvement Project (NETIP) and financed by the government and International Development Association (IDA). The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) is the implementing agency.
Isiolo – Mandera highway
The highway project traverses five counties of Isiolo, Meru, Wajir, Garissa and Mandera. Tarmacking of the road is set to be a game changer for the North Eastern counties. It will be the biggest infrastructure project undertaken in the region since independence.
The project represents the government’s plan to open up north eastern Kenya which has remained isolated economically from the rest of the country due to the lack of roads and other infrastructure.
The road is currently characterized by deep gullies and potholes and requires an off-road vehicle to navigate. Travelling to Mandera from Nairobi by bus takes about two days and during rainy seasons the journey can take up to two weeks as roads become impassable with buses and trucks carrying relief food getting stuck.
“The road infrastructure is in a poor state and communication networks are lacking in many areas. This means that households receive low prices for the items that they sell and pay high prices for purchases. The project will go a long way in opening up a region that is historically undeserved and performing below national average on development indicators. Poverty levels in North Eastern are extremely high at 70% compared to 45% national average,” said Mr. Joseph Kanyiri