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A section of the Lamu-Ijara-Garissa Lapsset access road

Lapsset corridor access road project sails through the storms

The construction of the Lamu-Ijara-Garissa Lapsset corridor access road and other related projects has recorded great strides despite works having numerously been halted owing to Al-Shabaab attacks.

The access road project, which is part of the Sh17.9 billion Lapsset development road project network, has a total length of 453km.

Apart from the 257km Lamu-Ijara-Garissa stretch, the project also comprises the 113km Hindi-Bodhei-Basuba-Kiunga road and the 83km Ijara-Sanghailu-Hulugho section, all of which cut across the terror-prone Boni forest region.

Speaking to coast business on Thursday, Lamu County Commissioner, Irungu Macharia said the road project works lying within Lamu County are over 80 percent complete.

He said the work had been done up to the bitumen level.

Mr Macharia said the work for the Lamu section would have been completed but had to be postponed in early August to pave the way for the elections.

Works in the other sections of the road, particularly those headed deep inside Boni forest up to Ijara, Sanghailu, and Garissa are around 50 percent complete.

The county commissioner, however, said arrangements were in place to have the contractor resume work this month.

The entire project is being constructed by the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC).

“We have totally secured the project area and works have been ongoing since May. It had to be stopped in August to pave way for the polls. The contractor has already informed us of his plan to resume work this month. We have assured him and the entire staff of adequate security throughout their operation in this place,” said Mr Macharia.

He said the government has done all it takes to ensure peace and stability in the concerned area and across Lamu County is maintained.

“The Lapsset Corridor access road project area is fully secured. We have a special multi-agency security team assigned to undertake 24-hour surveillance within the project areas. I am happy to say we’ve managed to create confidence both to the contractor and the locals here,” said Mr Macharia.

“Apart from insecurity, we have no other major challenge. Enough resources have been mobilized to boost security and ensure workers are protected. The project has also been receiving constant funding from the state and we expect it to be accomplished within the stipulated timeline,” said Mr Macharia.

In January this year, the Lapsset road construction works had to be suspended for over three months owing to rising cases of terrorist attacks. The militants had formed a tendency of targeting and, attacking casual labourers.

The work, however, resumed in May after the state beefed up security in the area.

The entire Lamu-Ijara-Garissa Lapsset Corridor access road project commenced in April 2021 and was expected to take 24 months.

Lamu Port and Lapsset officials  cited improved security in Lamu and along the Northern Kenya corridor as a crucial move that has greatly contributed to the successful performance of the Lamu Port, and all the other projects along the Lapsset Corridor.

Lamu Port General Manager Vincent Sidai acknowledged the endless efforts being made by the national government since 2015, in the fight against Al-Shabaab in Boni forest and areas towards and along the Kenya-Somalia border.

“The continued security operations have contributed to the existing peace and stability that has in turn impacted positively and resulted in a tremendous performance of the Lamu Port activities,” said Mr Sidai.

Since the port was commissioned by retired President Uhuru Kenyatta, on May 20 last year, it has continued to perform well with 13 ships having already docked at the Lamu Port site in Kililana, Lamu West so far.

Some of the ships are MV CAP Carmel, Seago Bremerhaven, MV Amu 1 (first trip), MV Spirit of Dubai, MV Seago Pireaus, MV Amu 1 (second trip), MV Seago Istanbul, Ionian Express, Zuhra II, MV Amu 1 (third trip), MV Songa Cougar with the latest one to dock being the Togolese specially designed livestock transport carrier vessel MV Banyas 1 which exported over 16,000 cattle, sheep, and goats to Oman this month.

More ships are expected to dock at the new Port before the end of the year. Currently, all three Lapsset berths at Kililana are operational. They were built at a cost of Sh49 billion.

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