The construction of the Isiolo-Wajir-Mandera Highway, also known as Kenya’s Horn of Africa Gateway Road, is set to begin in June this year (2022) after being delayed by five months from its original start date in January.
The project, which includes the tarmacking of the 748-kilometre Isiolo-Wajir-Mandera road for the benefit of four counties in the northern region of the East African country, will reportedly be carried out in four phases the first of which will be the Isiolo – Kulamawe – Modogashe. This would include breaking ground for the first two segments of the road (Isiolo-Kula Mawe-Kula Mawe-Madogoshe), a distance of around 200 kilometres.
The Modogashe – Samatar – Wajir road project will be the second phase while the Wajir-Tarbaj-Kutulo-Elwak route will be the third phase. The final part will be Elwak – Rhamu – Mandera, which will signal the end of the journey. According to experts, money for the remaining portions has already been secured, and the full route from Isiolo to Mandera is expected to be completed by 2028.
The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) will serve as the project’s facilitating partner, overseeing the construction and completion of Kenya’s Horn of Africa gateway road project, which is seen as a game-changer in the North Eastern Region.
When operational, the road would increase people and products transportation and communication, and access to social services for almost 3 million people living along the Isiolo-Mandera regional road corridor in the North-Eastern area. The anticipated benefit of this project, among others, is a permanent reduction of the region’s fibre connectivity difficulties, as the project comprises putting down fibre optic along the road.
The 750-kilometre bituminous road would also connect Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti, providing a vital link for populations in the area.
Isiolo-Wajir-Mandera Highway Construction in Kenya to Commence in January 2022
The construction works of the 740 kilometres Isiolo-Wajir-Mandera highway in Kenya is set to begin in January next year (2022) according to the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), an autonomous road agency, responsible for the management, development, rehabilitation, and maintenance of Class A, B and C roads.
Class A roads are international trunk roads linking centres of international importance and crossing international boundaries or terminating at international ports while Class B roads are national trunk roads linking internationally important centres. lass C roads are primary roads linking provincially important centers to each other or two higher-class roads.
The revelation was particularly made by KeNHA’s Project Coordinator Paul Omondi while addressing the residents of the northern parts of Kenya during the stakeholders’ validation workshop held recently at the Garissa government guesthouse.
The Isiolo-Wajir-Mandera Highway Construction Project has been divided into six segments according to KeNHA for easier construction management and financial backing. Already, funding for the first segments (Isiolo-Kulamawe, and Kulamawe-Modogashe) that have a total distance of 190km has been secured, and contracts for the roads are expected in three weeks.
Preparations for the other sections are ongoing to ensure that the entire Isiolo-Mandera road is completed in the next five to six years.
The completion of this project will lead to fast travel and movement of goods, improved cross-border trading with Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia, and more importantly, improved security in the region.
Isiolo-Wajir-Mandera Highway Project implementation team
The US$ 896.05m project is being implemented by KeNHA in partnership with the State Department of Infrastructure (SDoI), ICT Authority (ICTA), National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), and State Department of Transport (SDoT).
It is financed by the World Bank in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfBD), and a consortium of five Arab banks as part of the Horn of Africa Gateway Development Project.