KNA The government has awarded a contract of Sh 36.7 million for construction of a permanent modern bridge across River Lumi in Taveta in a move expected to ease the transport challenges for hundreds of farmers in several villages in Timbila and Mboghoni areas in Taveta sub-county.
For years, the residents have been using a narrow shaky bridge that only allowed one vehicle to pass a time. The bridge was also vandalized and would become extremely risky to cross when River Lumi flooded during the heavy rains.
Mr. Shem Omari, a senior official with Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) in the region said the permanent bridge would be constructed at a site that would ensure residents reaped maximum benefits from it.
“The bridge is meant to address the challenges that were reported earlier by local residents as they moved across the river,” he said.
The Timbila-Mboghonyi Bridge contract was awarded to Marcedalio Contractors Limited. The works commenced on 23rd of April. The contract period is 15 months.
Taveta Deputy County Commissioner Mr. Joseph Mericho said that a crucial geological report was being expected soon to allow the contractor to start the construction works. The report would guide the contractor on key aspects of the project including soil strength and stability to support the heavy bridge.
“All that is being awaited is the geology reports that will guide the contractor on how and where the project will be done. Once the report comes, the contractor will start his work,” he said.
While that happens, farmers in the region have welcomed the project terming it as timely and momentous. They admitted that most of their economic activities including transporting of farm produce including bananas to Kongowea Market in Mombasa and to Taveta wholesale market were hampered by the challenges posed by the old rickety bridge.
Mzee Malalo Denai, a banana farmer, said it was worse when it rained and the river flooded.
“The bridge was too narrow. We always feared falling into the waters of Lumi (river). It could only accommodate one car at a moment. The new bridge is going to solve such problems,” he said.
Meanwhile, the upgrading of the Msau-Mbale-Mghange-Bura Road from gravel to bitumen is well on course after officials confirmed the Sh 80-million contract was on a tendering stage. In a letter to Mr. Philemon Kandie Ag. Director General for Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) in December last year, the treasury said Sh 80 million has been reallocated for the road. The road is approximately 53.4 kilometers.
The road cuts across two constituencies of Mwatate and Wundanyi. It was one of the key government’s promises to the leaders of the region to enhance access to the farming villages in the hinterland and widen the road networks in the region