The much-awaited construction of a Sh135 billion road from Eldoret to Juba in South Sudan has finally begun, moving forward a project that has been on the cards for nearly three decades.
The 940 kilometre road, which was launched on Wednesday, will link Eldoret to Juba through the Nakodok/Nadapal border with South Sudan. The road will enhance connectivity between Kenya and South Sudan, thereby enhancing cross-border trade between the two countries.
The Eldoret Juba highway will be built to bitumen standards and will include a one-stop border post built at Nadapal among other key transport amenities.
“This road will help us fight poverty as the cost of transporting goods for sale is so high due to bad roads,” Turkana governor Josphat Nanok said during the ground-breaking ceremony in Lodwar.
In July, Kenya and the World Bank signed a Sh51 billion credit agreement for the upgrade of the 298 kilometre section between Nakadok and Loichangamatak in West Pokot – paving the way for the launch of the project. The money is part of a Sh135 billion loan which was approved by the World Bank in January 2013.
The Eldoret-Juba highway is part of the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport project (Lapsset) and, upon completion, the road is estimated to handle up to 90 per cent of cargo traffic on the northern corridor.
The project, which will be implemented over six years, will be instrumental in development of South Sudan – a landlocked country with basic road infrastructure, said the World Bank country director in South Sudan Bella Bird.
The Eldoret Juba road is also expected to revive stalled projects like fishing in the Lake Turkana region which has stalled because of poor road infrastructure.