Taxpayers fork out Sh1.5m daily to maintain Thika Superhighway
It costs taxpayers at least Sh1.5 million every day to maintain the Thika Superhighway, making it the most expensive road to maintain in the country under the new performance-based road maintenance programme.
Records from the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) show that Sh1.08 billion was spent to keep the 45km stretch linking Nairobi and Thika in good shape in the contract running between 2016-2018.
The money, which accounts for more than a quarter of what the agency spent to maintain some 1,239km of roads around the country, was paid to a construction company based in Nairobi, Interways Works Ltd.
Kenha’s assistant director of corporate communications Charles Njogu said such performance-based maintenance contracts have enabled the authority to maintain its road network in a “more efficient and timely manner”, besides enhancing road safety.
“Please note that the contract amounts are based on road condition, amount of projected maintenance works, replacement of road furniture that may be damaged in case of accidents, lighting, drainage and blockage clearance among other extraneous factors,” said Mr Njogu.
“It also includes 24-hour surveillance and clearance of stalled traffic, in the case of Thika Superhighway, to ensure traffic flow.”
Road agencies have largely adopted the performance-based scheme, where periodic maintenance contracts are given to private firms, which is said to be cheaper and faster compared to the traditional tendering for road maintenance when need arose.
Kenha data, which lists Thika Road as 90km in length — considering each side of the eight-lane highway — also lists 15 other contracts awarded during the same period. The 90km stretch of the Mai Mahiu-Narok road was the second most expensive, at Sh375.7 million. Petwa Construction Company Ltd has been contracted by Kenha to keep it in shape for 18 months.