Constructed 4.8 km of All-Weather Roads

Friday, July 19, 2012 was a day that made HKA and the Hopewell Valley Central High School proud. It was the official opening day of “Hopewell Road”, the new road up to Nyanchonori village and continuing to the villages of Chitago and Kegwanda. This was the culmination of a two year effort to raise $47,000 in Hopewell Valley to fund the conversion of 4.8 km (3 miles) of dirt tracks, which were impassable to vehicles for several months each year, to all-weather, stone roads. Connecting these villages to the main road system is a major contribution to improving the quality of the lives of the people in these communities.

 Area Chief Tom Ndege opening the Hopewell Road

The first road, from the Nyankoba Tea factory to Nyanchonori village was completed in July 2011 and has been in use for over a year. It is named Hopewell Road in appreciation for the support from HKA and Hopewell Valley. The major work on the two roads we funded in 2012, from Nyanchonori to Chitago and to Kegwanda was completed in time for the road opening ceremony and the finishing work has since been completed by the contractor, with the exception of five culverts that were not anticipated in the original engineering plan and will be completed when funding is obtained. Our visit in July 2012 was our first chance to see the road improvements that we have funded in the Nyankoba Ward and it gave us a great deal of satisfaction at a job well done. Judging by the reception given to the students and adults at the opening ceremony, our efforts are greatly appreciated.

The improvements brought the previous dirt tracks up to the all-weather standard of KeRRA (Kenya Rural Roads Authority). The process followed is that KeRRA develops an initial estimate for the work using their LBIR (local labor based intensive roadworks) approach and then requests bids from contractors. When a contractor is selected, KeRRA supervises the work. Local people are employed by the contractor to provide labor. The upgrades include widening the road to 5.4 meters by removing trees, brush and overgrowth, grading, milling the road underlay down to about 30 cm to give a constant consistency base, digging side drainage ditches, installing culverts (concrete pipes) under the road where needed, and then finishing with a 15 cm thick compacted stone layer (called murrum and obtained locally).

In February 2011, we sent $18,500 to upgrade the 2.5 km of road uphill from the B3 main road at the Nyankoba Tea Factory to the new Tea Buying Center in Nyanchonori Village. We sent another $1,300 in June 2011 to pay for two additional culverts deemed necessary. The road was completed in July 2011 by Geosta Construction Company and has been in year-round service since. It has enabled the Tea factory truck to visit the Tea Buying Center every day that tea was available to pick up. In February 2012, an inspection by KeRRA reported that heavy rains had found parts of the road that needed additional weatherproofing, estimated at $7,500. This work was completed in July 2012 for $7,200 by the contractor who successfully bid on the road extension project, using part of the funds sent by HKA in June 2012. The final cost for this road was $27,000.

In February 2012, HKA-Keroka requested an estimate from KeRRA for upgrading the roads from Nyanchonori to Chitago (1.6 km) and Nyanchonori to Kegwanda (0.7 km). The KeRRA estimate of $20,700 was sent at the end of April. A bid from Achoki Construction for $19,800 was accepted from three bids received in May and work started in June. The widening, tree removal, grading, culverts, drainage ditches and milling were completed and the stone layer was installed in time for the road opening ceremony on July 20. The final surfacing and compacting was completed at the end of July, and HKA-Keroka confirmed that the work was completed to a good standard.

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