Push for Kenol-Marua road to be named after President Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenol-Marua dual carriageway

Part of the 84 km dual carriageway at the Kakuzi stretch in Murang'a County on August 6, 2022. The Sh14 billion project is 75 percent done. 

Photo credit: Mwangi Muiruri I Nation Media Group

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The Sh14 billion 84-kilometres dual carriage highway from Kenol in Murang’a County to Marua in Nyeri will stand out as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s key legacy project in Mt Kenya as he vacates office after 10 years of service.

After his predecessor, Mwai Kibaki, built the 50 km Thika Superhighway at a cost of Sh36 billion, the Mau Mau dual carriage will be a continuation of the Superhighway from Kenol through Murang’a, Kirinyaga and Nyeri counties.

“Politics aside, this road means much to Mt Kenya region economy and it will be remembered as one of the finest legacies of Mr Kenyatta in Mt Kenya region. The gains that will come with its completion are so immense and it has the potential of raising hundreds of millionaires,” said Kikuyu Council of Elders chairman Wachira Kiago.

Mr Kiago noted that prices of land near the road have increased.

“An acre in Makuyu, Sagana, Karatina and Marua was rated at between Sh2 million and Sh4 million before this road commenced but as we speak, the prices have jumped to between Sh6 million and Sh12 million and promising to continue peaking as the project gains shape,” he said.

He added that at least 20 property brokerage firms have set base along the road in the past one year “and are doing a booming business."

Dual carriageway

The road that is 75 percent done and which the president commissioned on Saturday is being built in two phases; the 36 km stretch from Sagana to Marua at a cost of Sh6 billion and the 48 km Kenol to Sagana stretch at a cost of Sh8 billion.

The works involve upgrading it from a two lane single carriage to a four lane dual carriageway covering the entire 84 km, starting at Kenol through Makuyu, Kambiti, Gwa Thamaki, Makutano, Riandira, Sagana, Kibingoti, Kibirigwi, Kiangwaci, Karatina and ending in Marua.

The Head of State was concerned that farm produce delayed reaching the markets. The poor roads also affected locals work and trade.

“This road will make many people working in Meru, Nyeri, Thika, Kenol and Nairobi towns to start thinking of commuting from home since it will reduce the hours wasted on travel by half,” he said.

He said the road means “wealth for both individual, co-operatives and company enterprises.”

Sagana Level IV Hospital

Sagana Level Four hospital on August 6, 2022: Residents and leaders want it upgraded.

Photo credit: Mwangi Muiruri I Nation Media Group

The road has attracted investors for five industrial hubs, 10 open air markets, three supermarkets, 45 boda boda sheds and a bus park at Karatina town.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia termed the project as “well thought-out, worthy and that whose multiplying factor on return will hit more than 20 times by 2025 calculated from volume of business to open up along the route.”

He said there are investors lining up to introduce new fleets of public and goods transport business as well as others seeking to buy or build residential homes in the area.

He added that the government in conjunction with devolved units is exploring ways to erect strategic roadblocks along the outer lanes of the dual carriageway to serve as unconventional markets.

“We have noted that where road bumps exist, small markets of vendors sprout. We will encourage that culture along these 84 kilometres…We will empower the vendors to access buyers from slowing up vehicles and especially at designated termini," he said.

Safe access

He added: "We will ensure that they have a safe access from the highway to avoid a situation whereby we will be witnessing traders risking their lives running after speeding vehicles to secure a sale. We want to have organised markets where motorists can get off the road, park and proceed to buy what pleases them.” 

Mr Macharia said the road links the Mt Kenya region to both Rift Valley, Eastern and the East African region and will be a major boost to traders.

Kirinyaga County Jubilee Party chairman Muriithi Kang’ara said the new road should be named “Jubilee Road to serve as a commemoration of President Kenyatta’s progressive rule.”

He said motorists who have tried to use the road when it was a two lane stripe “will confess the raw nightmare that it was to a point some would opt to use longer routes to avoid traffic snarl-ups”.

Make money

He said Public Service Vehicles in attempting to beat the jams and make money made the road notorious for accidents “a thing that will now be addressed by this new road since it is wide.”

He however urged President Kenyatta “to ensure that Karatina, Sagana and Thika hospitals are upgraded to Level Six status.”

He said “all busy roads will once in a while be rocked by accidents and the hospitals along it should be well equipped and managed so as to be responding to the crisis once it occurs”.

He said the three hospitals cannot cope even with minor accidents since they lack medicines, specialized staff and are neglected.

“We have for instance the Sagana Level Four hospital that is rocked by thugs raiding it and robbing admitted patients…When we have hospitals where patients are not safe, we are in a big crisis,” he said.

Central Regional Commissioner Esther Maina said the health facilities’ needs will be addressed and in addition “we will set up a highway patrol base between Kenol and Nyeri to cater for increased activities along the road that will present crime and accidents challenges.”

She praised the project as that which has provided livelihoods to more than 1, 000 unskilled workers as well as 300 skilled labourers.

Kenya National Highway Authority (Kenha) chairman Wangai Ndirangu said the project has offered exposure opportunity to 400 post-graduates in the building and construction related fields.

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