Trucks lining up to deliver cane at a sugar factory. The government aims to improve road access in the western Kenya sugar belt. FILE PHOTO | NMG
The government has finalised plans to rehabilitate the Muhoroni-Miwani–Kisumu road after years of neglect.
The 50-kilometre stretch running through Chemelil, Miwani and Kibos to join the Kisumu –Kakamega road at the Mamboleo junction traverses three major sugar cane millers and has been in bad shape for more than two decades.
The Kenya National Highways Authority is expected to float tender for the roadworks this week after many years of subdued business activities along the corridor now only frequented by tractors and motorcycles.
KeNHA Assistant Director of Corporate Communications Charles Njogu said the road upgrade will be tendered to kick start its long awaited rehabilitation and improve access in the sugar belt.
“It will be tendered next week (this week) and the rest will just follow the procurement process. There is an existing road as much as it is dilapidated so there will be a rehabilitation, not a new road construction,” Mr Njogu said.
Built in the early 60s, the road has become impassable and public service vehicles abandoned it, leaving tractors and motorbikes as the only means of transport.
The State- owned sugar cane millers have, however, saddled farmers with deductions to maintain the roads for many years, with each tonne of sugar giving one per cent of yields for road maintenance.
The funds were previously being kept by the millers who now submit them to the county government of Kisumu.
The bad roads have hurt the millers in huge costs of repairs to tractors and vehicles as they struggle with basic operational costs and stall frequently.
Trucks ferrying sugar cane to Kibos Sugar and Allied Industries Limited from the offsite weighbridges in Awasi, and Koru have to go to Kisumu on the main highway to avoid the badly damaged road.