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Road works in Upper Hill to take more time

Motorists in Upper Hill in Nairobi will have to endure traffic snarl-ups for a little longer after the government said ongoing road upgrades would be completed end of March.

Transport PS John Mosonik said the construction of the 5.4km stretch is expected to be ready at the end of March — further delaying works whose completion has been delayed at least four times.

The PS had earlier assured users of the roads in Upper Hill — the city’s hub for commercial offices — that the project would be completed before the year ends after missed deadlines of end of May, July 1 and then August 27.

PRESSURE

“We are putting a lot of pressure on the contractor to deliver by March 31 next year,” he said at a press briefing in Nairobi last week.

The construction of the key link roads serving the commercial district started in May 2012 and the contract was awarded to Mattan Contractors, a local firm.

It stalled mid-last year reportedly due to insufficient funding from the government, prompting the contract to be rescheduled from May to July 1 and later August 27.

LOSSES

This left behind excavations that rendered the roads near impassable, especially on rainy days,

The Upper Hill District Association, a lobby for businesses in the area, recently raised concerns over the delays citing rising operational costs due to high transport costs in the area and man-hour losses in traffic jams.

Mr Mosonik attributed the cash shortfalls to diversion of funds meant for Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura), the implementing agency, to the 47 counties last year.

“Kura only got to pay the contractor in (last) December,” he said.

The 5.4km stretch is the first phase of a planned 18km road network in the commercial zone. The first phase covers Hospital, Elgon, Kilimanjaro, Bunyala, Mara and Upper Hill roads

Kura acting director-general Peter Mundinia said the agency plans to include new stretches previously not included in the first phase of the project.

This includes Kenya Road which branches from Hospital Road, the whole of which Kura plans to refurbish. It runs past Equity Bank headquarters.

“We are working under the same budget. But this will mean the construction of Elgon Road will not go all the way to connect with Bunyala Road as earlier planned,” said Mr Mundinia.