Nyanza residents are looking forward to the completion of road projects worth Sh18 billion, which are expected to open up the region.
The first road under construction stretches from Isebania to Kisii to Ahero, which is being expanded to enable traders transport their goods faster.
The projects are part of the efforts to facilitate inter-regional movement of passengers and goods, widening access to local markets, and enhancing social and economic connectivity.
The road will also open up the country’s western corridor gate into Tanzania and broaden the scope of intercountry trade as well.
The Kisii-Ahero bit will be done at a cost of Sh8.6 billion with further upgrading done at Suneka-Rangwe and Nyachenge-Tabaka-Ogembo feeder roads.
The second phase will cost Sh9.4 - which will involve the upgrading of the Suneka-Rangwe Road.
Further works will also be done Nyanchenge-Tabaka-Ogembo Road. The project is jointly funded by the African Development Bank and the national government and it is part of the more than 374 kilometre road network that will inter-link Kisii, Homabay, Migori and Kisumu counties.
Transport Chief Administrative Secretary Chris Obure told the Nation that the project is part of the East African Regional trunk road network connecting South Sudan to Tanzania.
“The configuration of the new road will include spacious paved road shoulders, climbing lanes, footbridges, and other road safety design features. The project will also include upgrading of the Rongo weighbridge and the installing of road side amenities such as market stalls,” he said.
For social corporate responsibility purposes, the firms on site are expected to refurbish a number hospitals in the region.
Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital, Nyamira Level Five Hospital and Nyabondo Mission Hospital in Kisumu will receive ambulances and emergency care facilities to enhance emergency response services along main highways.
Mr Obure said the project is the biggest infrastructural development in Nyanza.
It is expected to end in two to three years if all factors remain constant.
Two Chinese companies — China Henan International Corporation Group and China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Company Ltd — are doing the works. An officer at the China Henan International Corporation Group said they expect to wind up the job in two years.
Kisii Governor James Ongwae said the highway will open up trade in the region.
Mr Obure said the expansion of the road was informed by the rising need by the government to boost the region’s economy.