The East Africa Trade Transportation Project
by PD Lawton 23 May 2021
The Kenyan National Highways Authority ( KeNHA) is upgrading the 514km stretch of road from Kitale to Lokichogio in north west Kenya in Turkana County, linking to the border with South Sudan. The re-surfaced A1 highway and newly built supporting infrastructure is opening up business opportunities in an arid region hard-hit by rural poverty.
Video Source: Kenya National Highways Authority
The project is costing KSH 38 billion and is financed by the World Bank and the Kenyan Government.
In the past it was only possible to travel this route to Juba, South Sudan, by 4×4 vehicles and even then it was often impossible due to the lack of river bridges in the rainy season. The only bridge was the single-lane bridge at Lodwar which now has a new double lane bridge and a new pedestrian and livestock bridge.
The Highway Authority are taking the opportunity of constructing the internet infrastructure at the same time as building the new highway. Fibre optic cables are being laid in underground tunnels alongside the road. The cell phone and internet network will now be greatly increased which is welcome news for students, health clinics and entrepreneurs as well as increasing security for the region.
Other trade facilities are being planned such as at the border and also rest facilities like those at Nayanae Ngikalalio, for truck drivers and travellers where they can spend the night on their long journey which increases road safety and enhances the travel. Such stop-over facilities will boost local business and employment.
Another benefit of this project, apart from increasing trade and access to schools, colleges and health care, this road will make it easier for the authorities to access land that is regularly infested with locusts that devastate crops.
The majority of the work has been completed, 75%, with one last section which has caused a delay, to be completed next year .
This highway is part of the East Africa Community Trunk Road Network which will connect Biharamulo, Tanzania , to Mwanze, on the shore of Lake Victoria,to Musoma to Isebania to Kitale to Lodwar to Lokichogio to Nakodok to Juba in South Sudan. The East Africa Community is comprised of Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda and Uganda.