This sector faced a number of challenges including: inadequate road maintenance equipment; pavement overloading by heavy goods vehicles, a huge maintenance backlog of the road network, low contracting and supervision capacity; congestion within cities/towns and overloading on Kenyan roads; encroachment on road reserves, and inadequate research on alternative low cost materials for construction of roads.

During the 2003-2007 period, reforms were implemented to enhance efficiency. In October 2006, Parliament approved Sessional Paper No. 5 of 2006 on the Management of the Roads sub-sector for Sustainable Economic Growth. Subsequently, in 2007, Parliament enacted the Kenya Roads Act 2007, which provided for the creation of three new agencies to be responsible for the development and maintenance of the road network namely: Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) - the implementing agency to manage and maintain all road works on class A, B, C as well as other rural paved roads; Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) - responsible for all rural and small town roads, class D and below including special purpose roads and unclassified roads (currently under county councils and town councils), also responsible for Forest Department Roads and County Council Game Reserve Roads and Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) - to manage and maintain all road works on urban roads in cities and major municipalities.

Flagship projects

    National road safety programme:
    Computerised information maintenance roads  management systems programme:
    Maintenance of existing road network and airstrips in the country:
    Use of machinery and labour intensive techniques to promote employment and income earning:
    Road Network Expansion:

Recent Developments

     The road sub-sector policy underpinned the Kenya Roads Act 2007 through which three new autonomous road implementing authorities were created. The authorities, namely, Kenya Urban Roads Authority, Kenya National Roads Authority and Kenya Rural Roads Authority, became operational in 2009/2010.
    The Materials Department, Mechanical Department, and the Kenya Institute of Highways and Building Technology are to be transformed into Semi Autonomous Government Agencies (SAGAS) for ease of operation. Legal notices for MTD, KIHBT and Materials departments have already been finalized only awaiting presidential signature.
    The National Road Safety Council was officially launched on 18th August 2009. The Council is expected to co-ordinate the implementation of the National Road Safety Action Plan which had been launched earlier in February 2006 in an effort to redress the serious road safety situation in Kenya which has reached the level of nearly 3000 deaths annually as a result of road crashes, with nearly ten times that number of people are injured.
    Three committees have been formed including: Infrastructure and Engineering, Enforcement and Information and Education committees to spearhead the work of the Council. Measures instituted to reduce overloading include the banning of trucks/trailers with four-axle configurations in line with the agreed Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) protocol. Modernization of the weighbridges to enable monitoring of operations from a central control room is in progress.
    Mariakani and Athi River weighbridges have been put under private management while axle-weighing are being installed and structures being constructed in 6 weighbridges (Mtwapa, Isinya, Juja, Busia, Mai Mahiu and Eldoret) while 10 mobile weighbridges are in the process of procurement.
    The Government has prioritized implementation of the Roads 2000 maintenance strategy for effective maintenance of the classified network to a cost efficient level of serviceability, while applying labour intensive techniques to maximize employment. The main objective is to bring the maintainable network to 70%, train small scale contractors in both routine maintenance and rehabilitation so as to use the private sector for future rehabilitation and maintenance work.
    Maintenance of roads is financed from the Road Maintenance Fuel Levy Fund which is projected at Kshs.21 billion during 2009/10 FY.
    Kenya Roads Board (KRB) has undertaken nationwide road classification study to delineate ownership of the road network and put together a long term Road Sector Investment Plan which has been subjected to a National Stakeholders Forum. The forum sought the cooperation of all stakeholders in addressing Road Investments in Kenya.
    The Government plans to establish a National Construction Authority (NCA) to support development of the local construction industry; enhance and oversee the level of professionalism in the industry; promote ethical behaviour among contractors; sanction poor performers; and assist in the training of construction personnel.
    A Cabinet Memo on establishment of a NCA has been approved by Cabinet and the bill has been forwarded to parliament for approval. Plans are also underway to strengthen the Engineers Registration Board (ERB), to allow the ERB to provide relevant training, share knowledge and strengthen self regulation and the sanctioning of unprofessional and unethical conduct by practicing engineers and consulting firms.
    The Kenya Roads Act 2007 now empowers the Minister responsible for roads to enter into concession agreements with the private sector for the development and maintenance of road infrastructure.

Priority action areas for 2011

    Key policy reforms
        Complete the on-going policy and institutional reforms in the road sub sector including strengthening institutional capacity of KeNHA, KeRRA and KURA with particularly emphasis on planning and management systems and provision of budgetary allocations for operations;
        Finalization and legislation of a Road Sector Investment Plan (RSIP), with clear delineation of programming, implementing, reporting and auditing functions ensuring the autonomy of the new Road Authorities but also the oversight role of the Parliament in the RSIP implementation.
        Make the road safety council operational. Due to improved road network in the country, it is imperative to increase investment in road safety issues.

    Institutional challenges

Roads Sub-sector: The fundamental principal of the road sub-sector reforms is to ensure effective segregation of functions between policy, regulation and service provision. In this respect the recent action to integrate KeRRA rural roads maintenance operations into the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) structure severely undermines the operational autonomy of that authority, with far-reaching and negative consequences on the quality of service to the public, efficiency and accountability as intentioned by the Road Sub-Sector Policy. The Development partners strongly advise reversal of this arrangement in order to restore full and unencumbered autonomy to the three authorities for effective and efficient planning, construction and maintenance of the public road network

    Measures to improve planning and targeting of resources, and strengthen accountability and transparency
        Need for regular publication and public consultation fora by the Kenya Roads Board and Road Authorities to explain utilization of public funds on roads.  Details of all contracts awarded should include names of contractors and sub-contractors, physical and financial progress up to final price.
        Government through Kenya Roads Board and Road Authorities should implement technical compliance, performance and financial audits on all projects for accountability

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