Leaders, residents say project will improve trade and security. Progress on the construction of the 135-kilometre Lamu-Garsen road seems to have been energised by the recent tour of the area by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The President landed in Lamu County to inspect government projects on August 1. Mr Kenyatta asked contractors to complete their work on fast.
Residents and leaders interviewed by the Nation expressed hope that the road would be completed soon.
Among the projects Mr Kenyatta inspected during the abrupt visit was the Sh2.5 trillion Lamu Port South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor site in Kililana and the Lamu-Garsen road.
The President told contractors to speed up unfinished projects to pave the way for others.
The Sh10.4 billion tender for the construction of the road was awarded to H-Young Contractors in 2016 but work has been slow, leading to complaints from residents, leaders and government officials.
Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama, who has been pushing for the speedy construction of the road, said President Kenyatta’s intervention was timely.
The lawmaker said the road is an important infrastructural component of the region and would open up Lamu County for more trade and industrial opportunities once complete.
“The road will also play a role in improving the security of travellers and police,” he said.
Mr Muthama thanked Mr Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto, the Ministry of Roads and Infrastructure and the Kenya National Highways Authority for their support in ensuring the road is completed.
Mr Simeon Gakie, a truck driver who usually plies the Lamu-Mombasa road, said he and others attempted to talk to the contractor to speed up the work but the firm took no action.
Travellers also expressed hope of reducing the time spent on the road once construction ends.
Travelling from Lamu to Mombasa by bus takes about seven to eight hours under ordinary circumstances.
“The journey from Lamu to Malindi should last about four hours but we spend six to seven hours on the road,” Ms Halima Athman, a resident, told the Nation.
Due to the poor state of the road, those with means opt for flights to Mombasa, Tana River and other destinations.
“With a good road, we would be travelling out of Lamu and back in a day,” Mr Mukhtar Ali said.