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Roads in city informal settlements set for major facelift

Informal settlements in Nairobi County are set to benefit from a multi-million infrastructural upgrade in a plan by the national government to improve accessibility in the areas.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the government will open up 408 kilometres of access roads in a number of informal settlements in the capital city.

The areas expected to benefit from the new project include Kibra, Mukuru kwa Njenga, Mathare, Dagoretti, Dandora, Githurai, Korogocho/Ngomongo, Kasarani and Roysambu.

Mr Macharia said the project will be undertaken by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) and will include upgrading all thetargeted roads to bitumen standards.

“This is one of the measures being undertaken to improve accessibility to essential goods and services as the county combat the coronavirus pandemic,” said the CS.

Kura Director General Engineer Silas Kinoti on Friday, alongside other officials, toured Dagoretti Constituency to inspect roads to be upgraded under the informal settlements programme.

Mr Kinoti pointed out that talks are ongoing to have the final touches on the upgrading plans including the amount of funds and once everything is put in order, the project will be officially launched.

“We are still in the planning process and visiting the places where the upgraded roads will pass. The Covid-19 pandemic has given us a chance to open up the slums and make them very accessible,” said Mr Kinoti.

He said the the project will open up the slums where critical emergency response services always suffer due to poor road network in the area.

Back in 2018, the Nairobi Disaster Management Unit had raised concern that lack of access roads was one of the key challenges they faced during fires outbreaks.

Most areas, especially in the informal settlements, were noted to have poor road networks, making it difficult for firefighters to reach the affected areas on time.

However, places like Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Korogocho and Mathare have already been declared as special planning areas ahead of their upgrade by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services.

This is in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s March 18, 2020, directive to have NMS headed by Major-General Mohammed Badi undertake slum-upgrading initiatives in the capital.

Already road construction has kicked off in Mukuru kwa Njenga.