The government will build a Sh340 million road accident emergency response centre in Sagana town as the Sh14 billion Kenol-Sagana-Marua dual carriage way nears completion.
Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) Director General Kung’u Ndung’u said the modernly equipped hospital will jointly be used by Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Machakos and Embu counties.
The counties will be issued with an ambulance each specifically to be on standby for emergencies emanating from the road’s use.
He said the road has a history of fatal crashes especially from Kenol to Sagana section which in the past two years has killed 53 and injured hundreds.
“The accident trauma centre has been long overdue and we are prepared to gap the distance and quality of emergency response to be domiciled along the road at the strategic point of Sagana.
Mr Ndung’u said this as he led a team to inspect the progress of the road saying it is 70 percent done.
The project is co-funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and is expected to be handed over on October 6, 2023.
The construction has seen area property prices double in the past two years while realtors along the route have recorded an upsurge of fraudulent deals on property.
Mr Kung’u was speaking on Saturday, during a site visit by a team drawn from the Central Region Security committee.
The visit was for an inspection, fact finding and familiarisation. They were led by the representative of the Regional Commissioner Mohamed Barre, Police Commander Lydia Ligami, Critical installations commander Hassan Soba and the National Intelligence Service official Patrick Gikonyo. Also in the entourage were the Traffic police boss Susan Mugambi, Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss Bethuel Oburu and chief conservator Andrew Soi.
They all concurred that the road urgently requires the accident trauma centre and should be started in the next seven months.
The team received an update from Murang’a county security committee chaired by Mr Karuku Ngumo who led to a tour of the 26 kilometre stretch of the road from Kenol to Sagana.
“In such crashes, noted is inconvenience of rushing the injured to nearest hospitals which mostly is by use of police land rovers and hiked lifts. We usually take them to hospitals that have no capacity to deal with such emergencies and we end up losing lives,” said Dr James Kimani who heads Murang’a County emergency evacuations unit.
He said that land police vehicles and sometimes breakdowns are the only available means of transport to ferry the injured to hospital.
“Lack of paramedics to within the shortest time possible arrive at the scene, be equipped with the ideal first aid kits, have standardized evacuation transport and with a specialised health facility in mind makes rescue mission be crude,” Dr Kimani said.
He added that “there is a possibility that some of those adjudged to be dead on the spot and transported to mortuaries might be unconscious but through rescue delays, poor transport mode and decision to take them directly to mortuaries ends up killing them”.
Murang’a South Deputy County Commissioner Gitonga Murungi said the 50 roadside markets to be established need to be focal points of safety sensitisation drives.
“As the traders rush to grab a sale from the motorists, it will mark another risky aspect of this road use. It will be our duty to coach them on how best to deal with the risk and at the same ensure the markets are built in designs that are safety conscious,” he said.
The committee agreed to engage Kenha to build gentle bumps, rumble strips, signages and road marking.
Also, the committee agreed on foot bridges to be built at Kenol, Kimorori, Mitini, Kakuzi, Gakungu, Murang’a Teachers Training College, Mung’etho, Kambiti town, Kambiti Secondary and Kwa Samaki.
Street lights will also be installed in strategic areas especially where there will be markets and termini.
The security team was notified that the multiple diversions along Kenol to Sagana stretch will be ended by March 2 and normal flow to resume.
“This will be save for the 180 meters long sagana bridge whose completion is projected to be the end of May.
Once complete the project will among other benefits reduce the travel time from Nairobi to Mt Kenya counties and vice versa, reduce vehicles operating costs, transform the economy and contribute to realisation of both vision 2030 and the big 4 Agenda.
“Another benefit will be fostering regional integration by linking Kenya to the Horn of Africa through Ethiopia as part of the Trans African highway,” Mr Ngumo said.
He added that the road will improve the social economic status of the neighbouring communities along the route through appreciation of property and construction of health facilities, markets and other business hubs through the corporate social responsibility of the companies to emerge in the area.
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