Arusha — The African Development Bank (AfDB) has given East African Community trade a strong impetus by agreeing to pay for upgrading of a busy regional road.
AfDB is giving $223.5 million for the project. The road runs from Taveta to Voi in Kenya and is being rehabilitated to create another major transport corridor in the region, linking the Mombasa Port with northern Tanzania and landlocked countries in the region.
AfDB Senior Transport Engineer, Patrick Musa, at the official launch of the regional road project, said the road, which is the extension of Arusha-Namanga- Athi-River Highway, is being executed under the EAC.
He said it is an important achievement towards regional integration process as the construction of the road would also help to spur economic growth in Tanzania and Kenya.
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).
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.
The Arusha Regional TANROADS Manager, Eng. Deusdedit Kakoko, said the completion of the project will change the entire landscape background of Arusha and its surrounding neighbourhood. The contractor for the purpose has already been earmarked.
"It is our hope the investment will also help to address traffic congestion as well as cushion the increase of cars and to make the road able to accommodate the increasing number of vehicles," Eng. Kakoko said. In addition, he said more than 700 houses are to be demolished to pave way for the proposed road project.
The civil works for the four-lane Arusha by-pass highway is expected to start by rehabilitation of the Arusha-Usa River Road, which is to start from the Sakina area in Arusha's CBD. The road will be expanded to a four lane up to Tengeru, some 20kms away from the Arusha city, and later cover 56.6 kilometres up to the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) road junction.
TANROADS Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Engineer Patrick Mfugale, said the works will be executed under a single contract. The road project is part of the 240km long regional project linking Arusha, the EAC's headquarters and Voi town in Kenya. Upgrading of the 85km along via-Holili section in Kenya is already underway.