The government requires more than Sh500 billion to complete all roads classified as highways. In an interview with the Star on Saturday, Roads minister Franklin Bett said so far the government has spent Sh110 billion to reconstruct and maintain highways categorised as Class A, B and C roads.
He said the World Bank, the European Union and the Japan government have pledged grants to be used on the expansion and maintenance of roads. The donors have also given the government loan of Sh21.5 billion to build road by-passes in Mombasa, Kisumu and Meru, Bett said.
"We really require a colossal sum of money in order to have the best road network in the country. But we are on the right path considering that we have also introduced new technology that will help to cut costs of putting up new roads and also increase the life span of the roads," said Bett.
Bett said the China government, the African Development Bank and other donors have already signed agreements for the funding and work on the by-passes will start soon. The minister, however, said plans to put up a Sh2.8 billion by-pass in Eldoret have been put on hold until survey work is done.
The government plans to relocate the road. Bett said the Nairobi road, which was to be developed into a by-pass, cannot be constructed because it is located in Eldoret town. The new road will now pass through the Eldoret Airport. "Officers from the Roads ministry will soon meet with stakeholders in Eldoret to discuss the decision to relocate the by-pass because its urgent that we construct the road to ease congestion in the town," said Bett.
The minister said a survey is being carried out on the on Maili Tisa- Kitale-Lodwar road that is to be constructed by donors. The road is expected to help in the ongoing exploration of oil in Turkana County. British firm Tullow, which discovered the oil, has already asked the government to improve the road that it will use to transport material and equipment for oil exploration and drilling work
Bett said the government will carry out a survey of all road reserves in towns following rampant grabbing of land set aside for roads. "The road reserves will be clearly marked to stop any encroachment by private developers. We will demolish any illegal constructions on road reserves because the urban areas are expanding and we now need more roads," he said.