Construction is under way to fill two missing highway links in a route that connects Kenya and Ethiopia. The two countries see the project as a way to strengthen both their transport network and economic integration.
In November, the countries signed an agreement to commit to developing the two segments, totaling 438 kilometers and situated along a 1,495-km Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis Ababa corridor.
The November agreement has paved the way for the release of funds from the African Development Bank and the European Union for the project.
Those two organizations had set the signing of the agreement as a condition for additional funding for the second phase of the $482-million project.
The links are the 245-km Merille River-Marsabit-Turbi road in Kenya and the 193-km Hagere Mariam-Yabelo-Mega road in Ethiopia.
The highway segments will have two lanes—totaling seven meters wide, plus shoulders—in each direction.
In Kenya, a contract to construct the 122-km Marsabit-Turbi portion was awarded in July to China’s Jianxi Zhongmei Engineering Construction Co.
Bids were solicited in November for a contractor to build the 123-km Merille River-Marsabit section.
In the first quarter of 2011, Ethiopia awarded Egyptian construction firm Arab Contractors a $43.5-million contract to rehabilitate the 98-km Hagere Mariam-Mega section of road and construct the 95-km Hagere Mariam-Yabelo segment.
Phase one of the project included detailed design studies for the two road links and construction of another stretch, between Isiolo and Merille River on the Kenyan side.