Urban roads are key enablers of economic growth and have productive interlinkages with other socio-economic activities such as industrial, services, agricultural, commercial, social institutions and households. Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) a state corporation established under the Kenya Roads Act, 2007 has the mandate to Manage, Develop, Rehabilitate and maintain all Urban National Trunk Roads within the urban areas.
Since its inception, KURA has executed its vision successfully delivering a safe and efficient urban road transport infrastructure. The achievements include; construction of 172km of new roads, rehabilitation of 167.7km, provision of 36 bridges and interchanges constructed, 288.8km of pedestrian walkways constructed, 431.8km put under periodic maintenance and 9,797km of roads under routine maintenance.
It is estimated that the Country’s Road Asset has grown exponentially from Kshs. 200 Billion in 2009 to approximately Kshs. One (1) Trillion to date. This has resulted into efficiency and ease of movement of both goods and services and increased access to key amenities and raw materials. An efficient urban road network has also increased investment in infrastructure particularly the construction boom witnessed in the Country.
In response to increased urbanization and demand for an efficient urban road network, the Authority has developed and adopted initiatives and strategies that will lead to increased connectivity and improved access to attract more investments inching the Country closer to attaining the Big Four Agenda. These programs include construction of urban missing links, improvement and rehabilitation of roads whose usage has increased tremendously through upgrading and regeneration and construction of County Headquarters’ roads in all counties. Other projects include construction of bypasses, upgrading of access roads to industrial parks, commercial and financial hubs and those that lead to densely populated areas. Upgrading of roads in Nairobi Eastlands plays a key role in easing movement of the working class. Increased urbanization and improved living standards go a long way to encouraging private investment. Road infrastructure creates enough confidence to investors hence creating jobs and other opportunities.
Further to these, the Authority has geared its programs towards the development of Sustainable Cities and Communities as espoused by the Sustainable Development Goals framework. This calls for adoption of technology and embracing innovation. To this end, the Authority is currently implementing an Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in Nairobi County that is set to revolutionize transport management in the Country using technology.
Other key interventions that the Authority has initiated include development of a concept and design of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Kenya with Feasibility studies and Engineering Designs of Lines 3, 4 and 5 at advance stages. Improved provision of Non-Motorized Transport (NMTs) is part of improving safety and encouraging use of sustainable resources for urban dwellers. These are some of the strategic Interventions that the Authority intends to implement to enable it deliver a world Class Urban Road Network for Sustainable Development.
To achieve the Big Four Agenda, it is therefore justifiable to enhance investment in the urban infrastructure. Increasing funding in the development of infrastructure will release the potential of the private sector leading to the achievement of the desired goals of the Big Four Agenda. Improved road network and related infrastructure leads to improved security, access to basic amenities and improved productivity of citizens.