Kenya's historic town gets first tarmac road since country attained independence

The closest, Lamu residents had come to enjoying good roads were the few cabro roads in Lamu town which only came with the advent of devolution.

The Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) is building a 15-kilometre road at Mokowe Town, where the county government is headquartered, with 1.5 kilometres now complete with black top.

“We have completed tarmacking the first 1.5 out of the intended 15 kilometre road. Work is still in progress and we expect the whole project to be complete by November next year,” said Kura acting director in-charge of policy strategy and compliance, Mohamed Abdulrashid, on Wednesday.

The Sh1.1 billion ($10m) project is being undertaken by Liberty Builders Limited and will link all public facilities.

The project started in May last year and is expected to be complete by November 2019.

Before the partly-built Mokowe road which is 10% complete, many Lamu residents had never set foot on a tarmac road.

The closest, they had come to enjoying good roads were the few cabro roads in Lamu town which only came with the advent of devolution.

Since independence, locals have been using dusty and muddy roads including the main Lamu-Garsen road.

Successive governments have turned a blind eye to their plight and as a result the area is one of the poorest regions in the country and lacks many basic amenities and infrastructure.

Lack of good roads has also exacerbated the insecurity menace in the frontier county since Al Shabaab militia exploits the inaccessibility of the area to freely launch attacks  for hours knowing full well security forces would take ages to launch a counter-attack.

Due to this factor among other myriad of challenges, the Al-Gaeeda linked terror outfit have also found willing recruits in their anti-west crusade in the area.

Once complete, the tarmac road is expected to spur economic growth by making it easier for tourists to explore the historic county, easily connect farmers produce to the market as well as improve security and access in the town and its environs.

Lamu’s road is part of Kura143 kilometres of road construction in 14 counties at a total cost of Sh 6.9 billion ($67m) under the Low Volume Seal Programme targeting marginalised county headquarters

Lamu, also lies on the earmarked Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor and construction of the first section of the Lapsset project, 530-kilometre, Lamu-Garissa-Isiolo Highway, is set to start mid this year.

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