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Lamu abuzz with Sh2.7trn projects


Construction of a berth at Lamu port.

Over the past couple of years, Lamu has become a magnate for big national and regional infrastructure projects whose total cost add up to about Sh2.7 trillion.

The bulk of this cost is taken up by the Sh2.5 trillion Lamu Port South-Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor Project.

The national government has also invested billions of shillings in undertaking other infrastructural projects aimed at boosting both road and sea transport not only in Lamu County, but the whole country and the region.

Construction and rehabilitation works of some of the projects — ranging from port berths, roads, jetties and airports — have already commenced while others are in the pipeline.

The Lapsset project kicked off in 2012, when former President Mwai Kibaki visited Lamu and laid the foundation stone. The project, which is being set up in Kililana area in Lamu West, however, commenced in mid 2016.

The project plan includes a 32-berth port, transportation hubs for rail, highway and international airports in Lamu, Isiolo and Lodwar, an oil pipeline from South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia to Lamu Port, an oil refinery and three resort cities in Isiolo, Lamu and Turkana.

So far construction of the first three berths is 70 per cent complete and will cost Sh48 billion. The cost includes the physical construction of the three Lapsset terminals plus other activities such as preparation of the turning bay, dredging and reclamation works as well as navigation of sea waves.

During his recent tour to the Lamu Port site, Lapsset Corridor Development Authority Chairman Titus Ibui said the first berths will be ready by June this year with first ship expected to dock in Lamu Port for the first time in November. The two other berths are expected to be complete by the end of 2020.

Completion of the Lamu Port is expected to open up the region for trade and industrialisation as well as improve the general transportation of goods and services in Lamu, Kenya, East Africa, the Midle East and the world at large.

Another mega project that the national government intends to undertake in Lamu is the Sh62 billion Lamu-Garissa-Isiolo road. The 530km stretch road is expected to link the new Lamu Port through Garissa, Isiolo, Samburu and wind up at Lokichar in Turkana where it will connect to the Eldoret-Juba highway. The road stretch is expected to intersect with the new north-bound road to Moyale at Isiolo. Construction works which are being undertaken by the Lamu-Isiolo Road Consortium Limited were to start in early January.

“The Lamu-Garissa-Isiolo road construction plan is on course. It was supposed to start in January this year but that couldn’t happen due to some challenges in assembling equipment by the concerned contractor. We expect the project to commence in a few weeks,” said Mr Ibui.

The Lokichar -Lamu Crude Oil Pipeline (LLCOP) is another big project which is perceived as a game-changer for the economy, trade and in employment of locals not only in Lamu County but also in all the six counties that the pipeline cuts across. The 820km long pipeline, a key component of the Lapsset project, is set to kick start in 2022.

The pipeline is a development initiative under a joint partnership between the Kenya Government and a consortium of Tullow Oil Kenya B.V, Africa Oil Turkana Ltd and Total Oil (formally Maersk Oil).

The project spans six regions across Kenya and will commence in Turkana County, South East of the Lokichar oil fields and cut across Samburu, Isiolo, Meru, Garissa and Lamu counties. The pipeline will terminate as a marine export terminal at the Port of Lamu along the coast.

Another infrastructural project taking shape in Lamu is the Sh10.8 billion Lamu-Garsen road. Construction works are ongoing and is being undertaken by the H-Young Company. The 135km road construction was commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta in March, 2017 and is expected to be completed by the end of December this year.

The road is currently 30 percent complete, according to resident engineer Willis Ingari who is also the chief supervisor of the project on behalf of the national government.

The Sh1.1 billion Mokowe urban road in Lamu is set for completion in November. The 15km road which is being undertaken by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) is now over 40 percent complete. Construction started in May 2017.

Once completed, the new road will link all public facilities, improve the general security in the region and facilitate easy access to the Mokowe County Headquarters and its environs. The road is also expected to provide easy access to the upcoming Lamu port, which is about two kilometres from Mokowe Town.

The Sh2.5 billion road stretching from Gulf Petrol Station to link up with Lapsset road project is also underway. The road will also aid in provision of easy access to Lamu port.

The national government is also undertaking the rehabilitation and expansion of the Manda Airport at a cost of Sh100 million. The move will enable more airlines to introduce flights to Lamu, making travel in the region easier.

Construction of the Sh100 million Mtangawanda-Kizingitini road in Lamu East has also been finalised. The 38km road which connects Mtangawanda, Siyu, Faza and Kizingitini villages has been in bad shape since independence. The project was funded under the Equalization Funds kitty which is aimed at accelerating development in poor counties, Lamu included.

Rehabilitation and construction of the Lamu-Matondoni road is also underway at a cost of Sh100 million.

Recently, the national government also commissioned the construction of two key jetties in Lamu County at a cost of Sh671 million.

The Mokowe Customs and Mtangawanda jetties have been in deplorable condition for several years. Jetties are a crucial element of Lamu’s water transport system as they are the main entry and exit points to Lamu Old Town and the adjacent islands within the archipelago.

The Mokowe Customs Jetty in Lamu West will consume Sh599 million and the Mtangawanda Jetty in Lamu East will cost Sh72 million. Two other jetties are also set to be constructed in two months upon approval of the tendering firms. They include Manda Airport Jetty and the Lamu Mangrove Terminal Jetty, all of which are in Lamu West.

According to initial estimates by the Ministry of Public Works, the Manda Airport Jetty was estimated to consume Sh35 million while Sh32 million was to go into the renovation and construction of the Lamu Mangrove Terminal Jetty.
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They should construct a nice Swahili Wharf near Lamu town. It will be the focal point of the town and as well a tourist spot and a gathering point for festivals and such...
 
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