By­passes help spruce up the face of Meru

Project, funded by the In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion to the tune of Sh2.3 bil­lion, is about to be com­pleted

The Star (Kenya) - - News Business - MERCY GAKII @TheS­tarkenya

Meru county is set to ben­e­fit from the con­struc­tion of two by­passes si­t­u­ated within Meru Mu­nic­i­pal­ity. The project, which is un­der Kenya Ur­ban Roads Author­ity, will de­con­gest Meru Town and its en­vi­rons, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cials.

The Eastern and Western By­passes in Meru county com­mis­sioned in 2014 and 2015 are part of Vi­sion 2030 in­fra­struc­ture projects. The Eastern By­pass is 12 kilometres long. It starts off in Gikumene, cov­er­ing the stretch over 12 kilometres all the way to the Maku­tano junc­tion in Meru Town.

The by­passes are ex­pected to give res­i­dents and busi­ness own­ers a sigh of re­lief from years of traf­fic snarlups that would take hours to clear, leav­ing Meru Town in a state of lock­down.

“I have been stuck at Meru open mar­ket for close to three hours, yet the dis­tance from the mar­ket to my house is only three kilometres,” said Rose Mak­ena, who works in Mikin­duri sub­county. The jam is worse dur­ing oc­ca­sions such as grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies at Kenya Methodist University, which mostly leave the town in limbo for days.

“Dur­ing my grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony, my guests could not get to the grad­u­a­tion square, and had to wait over five kilometres away. It was worse after the event be­cause I had to walk a long dis­tance to meet them,” re­mem­bers Vic­to­ria Njogu, now a lec­turer.

Res­i­dents whose parcels of land were re­pos­sessed by the gov­ern­ment ahead of the con­struc­tion of the 50 kilo­me­tre projects are also happy after hav­ing been com­pen­sated.

Shadrack Mugi­ira, whose eighth of an acre of land was bought off for the road project, is now set­tled in Ruiri, where he bought two acres of land.

“Half an acre in this place was sold for Sh300,000 but im­me­di­ately the sur­vey­ors started map­ping the road, the prices went up. An eighth is now Sh1.5 mil­lion,” he said.

The con­struc­tion of the roads has also cre­ated em­ploy­ment for the lo­cal com­mu­nity. Eric Mbaabu is a con­sul­tant sur­veyor, in charge of li­ais­ing with the con­trac­tor, su­per­vi­sion and co­or­di­na­tion of var­i­ous activities on­site.

“Labour­ers have been trained and some are even in a po­si­tion to start their own ven­tures with the skills they have ac­quired once this project is done,” he says.

Upon com­ple­tion, the roads will boost the busi­ness prospects as some en­ter­preneu­ral minds have al­ready in­vested heav­ily along the by­pass.

The project, funded by the In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion to the tune of Sh2.3 bil­lion is about to be com­pleted, and will be in use by end of the year, said Joseph Mburu, a li­ai­son of­fi­cer in the project be­ing car­ried out by H Young Con­struc­tion Com­pany.

/COURTESY

A sec­tion of the by­pass from Gikumene, on the out­skirts of Meru town

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