Prioritise road repairs

Friday February 22 2019

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The government’s commitment to the development of infrastructure, especially roads, is evident in the numerous projects being undertaken.

A number of new highways, and several impressive bypasses, have been built in the major towns.

But, whereas the zeal to expand the national road network is commendable, as this will ease the transportation of people and goods, there is an appalling lack of maintenance in many places.

It is a shame that roads built at a high cost to the taxpayer only several years later get so dilapidated that they have to be rebuilt, when regular maintenance could have saved the situation.


Of course, the rapid deterioration of some roads built recently raises the poignant question of the quality of the works.

And squarely to blame are the national agencies and the county departments in charge of roads for apparently taking their eye off the ball.

However, the announcement that the government plans to spend Sh33.4 billion on road maintenance countrywide is good news, indeed.

This is an opportunity to reverse the sorry trend, where damaged sections of the roads are left to lapse into a state of disrepair, necessitating the mobilisation of vast resources to rebuild them. This wastage of meagre resources is unacceptable.

It is also disappointing that the allocation for road maintenance from the Fuel Levy Fund has this year been slashed by nearly Sh18 billion.

There is a need to enhance a maintenance culture, so that infrastructure is not left to crumble as the officials concerned just watch.

It would make a lot of sense to impose a moratorium on new roads until all the damaged ones are fixed.

Building new roads and allowing them to be totally wrecked is wanton and criminal wastage of public resources.