Nairobi — The World Bank has approved Sh17 billion funding for the development of several key roads in the country.
Transport and Infrastructure Principal Secretary John Mosonik says that the funds will go towards upgrading of northern and western road corridors.
Among the roads to benefit include, the Athi River- Machakos turnoff, Bachuma Gate-Maji ya Chumvi sections and Kisumu-Kakamega-Webuye-Kitale road sections.
Construction of interchanges at three major junctions along Nakuru-Nyahururu, Nakuru-Njoro and Mau Summit-Kericho roads will also benefit from the funds.
Mosonik said additional funds will lessen the burden the government has been shouldering on major road projects.
"We appreciate the quick response by the World Bank as additional funds will lessen the burden the government has been shouldering on the major road projects and the onus is now on the implementing agencies to ensure speedy execution of works," stressed Mosonik.
The additional funding approval by the World Bank Executive Board of Directors brings the total funding to Sh43 billion the bank is extending to improve the transport sector in the country.
Mosonik also refuted claims that major development partners have shied away from financing the development of 600-km Lesseru-Kitale-Lodwar-Lokichoggio-Nadapal road project.
"World Bank has fully financed detailed engineering designs, environmental and social impact assessment components for the project," he said.
He added that the designs and preparation of tender documents for the first section of the project is due for completion, while those for the last two sections are ready for implementation.
The project is divided into three sections for implementation purposes that include Lesseru-Marich Pass, Marich Pass-Lodwar and Lodwar-Nadapal.
"The World Bank involvement in the project and efforts to mobilize donor support for the whole project is laudable, since this is an important and strategic road corridor link with South Sudan," said Mosonik
He said that last year Kenya and Sudan governments held a joint donor consultative forum in Nairobi where several development partners expressed support for the project.
"This is a project of immense interest, not only for the two governments, but also our development partners considering once completed all the way to Juba, the corridor will significantly enhance regional economies, besides facilitating trade opportunities between Kenya and South Sudan," said Mosonik.
The road which is also part of the LAPSSET project will be a great economic boost to northern Kenya region, due to the recent vast oil discoveries in the Turkana.