26 June 2014

East Africa: Arusha-Holili Highway to Promote EA Trade

Arusha — THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has stated that construction of the cross-border Arusha-Holili Highway, which also extends from Taveta to Voi on the Kenyan side, will boost East African regional trade, particularly between the two cities of Arusha in Tanzania and Mombasa in Kenya.

AfDB Senior Transport Engineer, Mr Patrick Musa, made the remarks here during the official launch of the regional road project. Apparently, Tanzania has received financing from the bank to execute the ambitious project.

The road project, which is the extension of Arusha-Namanga- Athi-River Highway, is being executed under the East African Community (EAC).

Tanzania intends to apply a portion of these funds to cover eligible payments under the Works Contract for the Construction of the Sakina-Tengeru Road to Dual Carriageway (14.1kms) and the Arusha Bypass Road (42.4kms).

Mr Musa views the project as an important element towards regional integration process, while construction of the road would also help to spur economic growth in Tanzania and Kenya and the region as a whole.

The Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS), on behalf of the Ministry of Works, will supervise the construction and upgrading of the Sakina -Tengeru Road to dual carriageway status, stretching 14.1 kilometres as well as the other Arusha Bypass Road, measuring 42.4 kilometre.

The works will be executed under a single contract. The Arusha-Moshi Road project is part of the 240km long regional project linking Arusha, the Community's headquarters and Voi town in Kenya. Upgrading of the 85km long Voi-Holili section in Kenya is already underway, the official explained.

The entire project, whose pre-investment studies are complete, will cost an estimated 560 million US dollars. AfDB has granted nearly 300 million US dollars towards the highway.

Reports from the EAC Secretariat indicate that available funds can only finance the 42-kms by-pass within Arusha and the rehabilitation of a 35-kms Arusha-Usa River section of the 110-kms highway.

The civil works for the by-pass is expected to start in the coming few months in line with the expected rehabilitation of the Arusha-Usa River Road, which is to start at Sakina area, to be expanded to a fourlane up to Tengeru, some 20kms away from the city.

The road is being massively rehabilitated to create another major transport corridor in the region, linking the Mombasa Port with northern Tanzania and landlocked countries in the region. Official launching of the road-upgrading project was previously expected to take place in Arusha since April, this year.

Once the civil works commence, the section would be completed within three years. It hasn't been so yet. TANROADS Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Engineer Patrick Mfugale, said that the 223.5 million US dollar-road project, whose construction is to start before the end of this year, would increase trade between Arusha and Mombasa due to its geographical location. He, however, noted that construction will start in September, this year and will take four years.

On the Tanzanian side the road will involve four-lane dual carriageway, which will connect Arusha City with Holili-Taveta through Moshi municipality and Himo Township.

The project is also expected to involve the so-called Arusha-bypass. Engineer Mfugale said that the four-lane highway will stretch from Sakina area and cover 56.6 kilometres up to the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) road junction.

The project will be implemented in two phases, namely Sakina- Tengeru Section (14.2kms) and Arusha Bypass Section (42km), while the second phase will go up to Usa River from Tengeru (8.1kms). Thereafter, reconstruction will proceed to Holili and join with that of Taveta-Voi.

The contractor for the purpose has already been earmarked. The Arusha Regional TANROADS Manager, Eng. Deusdedit Kakoko, said the completion of the project will boost regional trade as well as changing the entire outlook of Arusha.

"It is our hope the investment will also help to address traffic congestion as the project is meant to make the road be able to accommodate the increasing number of vehicles," Eng. Kakoko said, adding that more than 700 houses are to be demolished to pave way for the proposed road project.

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