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Doubts emerge over Bomet footbridge made of bricks

Tuesday April 30 2019

Kirwa footbridge in Bomet County

Bomet County Executive for Roads Philip Sowek (right) and Roads Chief Officer Victor Koech inspecting Kirwa footbridge in Sotik Sub-County on April 30, 2019. There has been an uproar after it emerged that the bridge's pillars and ramp are made of bricks. PHOTO | VITALIS KIMUTAI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

VITALIS KIMUTAI
By VITALIS KIMUTAI
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Bomet County has been thrust into the spotlight over the ongoing building of a footbridge at a cost of Sh2.4 million whose pillars and ramp have been put up using bricks.

The building of the Kirwa footbridge across Kipsonoi River in Chemagel Ward in Tumbelyon village, Sotik Sub-County has kicked off a storm with residents questioning the quality and safety of the structure.

The Roads department on Tuesday sought to justify the use of bricks saying the bridge is structurally sound and safe for use.

FUNDS ALLOCATION

The department also denied claims that the county government had allocated Sh6.4 million for the footbridge which is in Governor Joyce Laboso’s home village.

“The Sh2,464,652 million Kirwa footbridge measures 18 metres long and 1.5 metres in width. It is made of steel standing on reinforced concrete abutment. It is structurally sound for use by pedestrians,” said Mr Victor Ngetich, the chief officer for Roads and Publics Works.

“The footbridge is 85 percent complete and the form of construction of such walls for embankment included bricks. Masonry can be used in construction and in this case was only for the ramp while the rest is steel,” added Mr Ngetich.

GABIONS

He said that additional stepped up gabions will be put on either side to strength to the structure.

Geomet Company Limited won the tender to build the bridge whose work started on February, 5, 2019 and is expected to be completed and handed over to the county government on Ma, 4, 2019.

The matter was brought to the limelight after pictures of Roads County Executive Philip Sowek inspecting the bridge were circulated on Monday night.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Residents took to social media to offer varied views on the bridge with some saying it is too short, others asked why it was curved in the middle while some sought clarification on the strength of the steel bars erected on both sides of the structure.

“We hope this is not like the one in Kisii that caved in when Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and Deputy Governor Josephat Maangi were inspecting it,” said Mr Raymond Bii, a resident.