12 December 2018

Kenya: Over 90% of Roads Are Not Tarmacked, Report Shows

Less than six per cent of Kenyan roads are tarmacked, with only 4,300 of the total 12,950km of paved roads in good condition, statistics by the Kenya Roads Board has shown.

At least 6,212km of tarmacked roads are classified as being in a fair condition, with 2,429km classified as poor. A total of 122km are currently under construction.

"A bigger percentage of the unpaved country network is either poor or very poor, indicating the need for more resource allocation to upgrade the standards," the board's report showed.

Overall, however, the road network condition in the country has improved, with 57 percent of roads now classified as either good or fair, up from 44 percent in 2009.


Kenya has a total of 226,033km of road, but with only 161,451 having been classified. A total of 39,995 kilometres of classified roads are categorised as national trunk roads, with 121,456km classified as county roads. Of the total 226,033km, 82,132 are gravelled, with 71 percent of them classified as being in either a fair or good condition.

The vast majority of roads in Kenya are earthen, with about half of them (52 percent) classified as poor.

The ruling Jubilee Party had identified construction of roads as a leading campaign promise in 2013 and 2017, promising a total of 10,000km of new tarmac roads by 2022.

In its annual report, the board did not say how many kilometres they have done so far, but Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia was optimistic about the progress so far.


He, however, said the funds to maintain and construct the roads were inadequate, given the Sh400 billion "huge maintenance backlog".

In its budget this year, the board has allocated Sh23.6 billion to highways, Sh12.4 billion to national rural roads, Sh8.2 billion to county roads, and Sh5.8 billion to national urban roads. A total of Sh5.7 billion will be used for emergency, while Sh570 million has been allocated to the national park roads. "The ministry is pursuing alternative funding sources," Mr Macharia said.

Similarly, the CS said, the ministry is looking to adopt performance-based contracting for road maintenance, and the adaptation of cheaper construction materials.


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