Standard Business

KeNHA puts Kericho interchange contractor on notice over delays

A lorry drives past a bridge at the Kericho interchange which has taken five years to complete. [Nikko Tanui, Standard]

The construction of the Kericho interchange, which was started in 2016, is yet to be completed.

Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) Director-General Peter Mundinia, who flew to the site on Wednesday, acknowledged that the project should have been completed by now had it not experienced several hitches.

The Sh1.3 billion interchange located at the junction of Kisumu-Kericho Road, Kericho-Mau Summit Road, and Sotik-Chemosit Road has been at the centre of the controversy that saw the government re-advertise the tender after Israel contractor SBI International Holdings AG (Kenya) abandoned it.

The contractor had done up to 60 per cent of the project before terminating the contract in September 2019 over delayed payments.

Last year, KeNHA re-tendered the project and awarded it to Jiangxi Zhongmei company to complete the works.

But yesterday, Mundinia said the problems have been resolved and the works began in February this year.

“The contractor is fully mobilised and we expect that the site will be handed to the government on November 5,” he added. 

He revealed that the government released the advance certificate and money to the contractor last month.

“The previous contractor had done the works up to 60 per cent. The earthworks and the bridge had been done meaning the works at the Kericho interchange is less that than the pending works at the Ahero interchange,” said Mundania.

The interchange in Ahero is at the junction of Kisumu-Kericho and Ahero-Kisii roads.

When complete, the Kericho interchange is expected to ease traffic flow and movement of goods and services in the region, which boasts of tea farming and processing and rice growing in the Kisumu region.

It is not the first time government officials are complaining about the delay and slow pace of work on the interchange.

On January 28, this year, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya expressed dismay when he visited the site and found that the contractor had not moved there three months after winning the tender.

“There are no machines on site. The contractor cannot be said to be still setting up three months down the line from the commencement date yet this is not a new but a continuing project,” he said.

“The first contractor left the job 60 per cent complete, leaving only 39 per cent to be finalised,” Mr Natembeya added. 

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