The Kenya National highways authority has signed a 17 billion contract for the commencement of construction work of the Lamu-Ijara-Garissa highway.
The vital road network is part of the LAPSET corridor road infrastructure network that is set to open up the Northern frontier as well as provide a lifeline for the Lamu port which is under construction.
The construction will be undertaken by M/S China communication company and is expected to be completed in 36 months. The project will involve the construction of 3 major roads: Lamu-Ijara-Garissa (LAPSET Corridor)257 KMs, Hindi-Bodhei-Basuba-Kiunga 113 Kilometers and Ijara-Sangaila – Hulugho road 83kms.
The principal justification for the highway remains to provide a corridor to capture imports/exports demand for the port.
However, the greater benefits from the highway will be the socio-economic transformation and opening up of the corridor counties to the rest of Kenya through contact, trade, tourism and transit traffic. For instance, moving agricultural produce from the fertile Mount Kenya area to Turkana markets will be made easy while sales of livestock and Lake Turkana fish will be facilitated.
Perhaps the most significant payback by the highway will be suppression of insecurity and cattle rustling through improved communication and presence of the security enforcement agents.
New employment and trade opportunities will pre-occupy the youths away from trouble. The ongoing and planned north-bound road projects connecting the Northern Corridor to the LAPSSET corridor will provide effective communication linkages as more counties, towns and cities are connected.