Hundreds of residents of a village in Mwea East have heaved a sigh of relief after the Kirinyaga County embarked on building of a vital bridge in the region.
The residents of Ngucui have been enduring the pain of walking long distances to access markets, schools and health facilities due to lack of a bridge the village situated in Mwea East Sub-County.
The ongoing project has brought great joy to the residents who have suffered for decades.
Villagers said the Gacuriamuoyo bridge, which will connect Murinduko and Tebere wards will serve them well once completed.
The bridge, which is expected to be completed before the end of this year, will serve more than 5,000 people living in Ndindiruku, Kiumbu, Marurumo, Miatuini, South Ngariama and Ngucui villages.
Residents say for a long time, they had to cross Nyamindi River using a wooden makeshift footbridge that would sometimes be washed away by floods during rainy seasons.
‘Bridge of death’
Several residents, including school children, have drowned while crossing the river using the makeshift bridge.
A resident, Ndwiga Njoka, says the thought of the wooden bridge gives him nightmares as he remembers vividly some years back when two pupils of a local school were swept away while crossing the river.
“The wooden structure is our bridge of death. Lives have been lost here,” said Mr Njoka.
Another resident, Rosemary Wanjiku, said some of the villagers are still trying to come to terms with the deaths of their loved ones.
“There are people who have been washed away together with the makeshift bridge never to be seen again,” said Ms Wanjiku.
Governor Anne Waiguru noted that for a long time, villages had been risking their lives while crossing the river.
The Kirinyaga governor said the new bridge will spur economic growth by easing transportation of agricultural produce like tomatoes, French beans, watermelons and rice to the market, besides helping increase employment opportunities in the transport sector.
“The county has embarked on a massive road improvement programme that will open up the interior parts of the county for sustained social and economic development. We are building bridges to ensure our farmers and traders have easy and fast access to markets,” she said.
Ms Waiguru stressed that bridges and better roads lead to improved household incomes since families can easily transport their farm produce to the markets.
Currently, the residents have to travel for 50 kilometres to access Wang’uru Market.
The governor has already commissioned another bridge across River Nyamindi in Mahigaini village.
Several vital bridges being built by Governor Waiguru’s administration that are lined up for completion are Kiamanyeki-Ciagini, Kaimiri-Gakarara, Matonguini, Karoboti, Kandakame, Kahuhoini and Kibukure. The county is also putting up the Getuya, Mutonga and Munjuha foot bridges to ease movement of people.
The bridges will open up most of the areas which had remained cut off from other parts and will give the residents access to public institutions such as schools and health facilities.
Tebere Ward representative Gudson Muchina said the good working relationship between the executive and Kirinyaga MCAs has resulted in speedy completion of development projects.