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Road Inventory and Condition

BACKGROUND

The road network in Kenya at independence was 45,000km out of which only approximately 2000km were paved while the rest was mainly earth.

In order to support the country's development objectives the country embarked on a programme of upgrading roads to bitumen standards and improvement of rural roads to gravel standards. As a result, the paved road network was expanded from 2000 km in 1963 to 11,189 km in 2009.

In 2001, the Ministry of Roads, with financing from World Bank, engaged a Consultant to undertake a Road inventory and Condition Survey for the Classified Roads using Geographical Positioning Systems. The RICS study led to the establishment of a database for classified roads in a Geographical Information System.

Unfortunately, the extent of the unclassified rural and urban roads remained unknown and was estimated to range from 80,000 to 130,00km making it difficult for effective maintenance and development planning.

OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE

In view of the above and in order to establish the extent of the existing road network and its condition, Kenya Roads Board, with funding from the Nordic Development Fund under the Northern Corridor Transport Improvement Project, in 2006, commissioned a Consultant to undertake a road inventory and condition survey for the hitherto unclassified road network.

The Consultant was also required to combine the Road Inventory and Condition data for the classified roads undertaken in the previous study by Ministry of Roads so as to have the entire road network inventoried and its current condition known.

METHODOLOGY

An inter-ministerial steering committee was established at KRB to guide the consultant in undertaking the study and monthly meetings were held.

The Consultant constituted several field teams (ranging from 3 to 10 working simultaneously), each consisting of a surveyor and a driver, to undertake the field surveys. The main equipment used was 4-wheel vehicles, All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) and Motor cycles which were equipped with Long Range HF radio communications systems, laptop personal computers with GPRS modem for sending field data back to head-office, and  hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment for data capture.

All unclassified public roads within the country which had at least 9m road reserve and were in a motorable condition were expected to be surveyed.

The surveys were undertaken on a district by district basis between May 2007 and April 2009 and begun with Nakuru District as the pilot district.

Wherever possible, the field teams consulted with the District Roads officers and the Local Council officials to assist in identification of the roads.

The surveys included collection of detailed physical road and bridge inventory data (include surface type, road width, culverts etc) and visual condition surveys (classified as excellent, good, fair, poor and very poor).

KEY CHALLENGES

The exercise was initially expected to be completed within 18 months but suffered delays. It was eventually completed 22 months later. Some of the key challenges encountered in the project include:

Delays in field surveys

  1. The condition of the network was very poor. This led to frequent breakdown of vehicles causing delays.
  2. Delays were also caused by insecurity in some areas like Mount Elgon and West Pokot. In 2007 the pre-election period also led to increased insecurity in several regions within the country.
  3. Heavy rains and impassable conditions also led to delays.

Availability of existing survey data:

  1. Although inventory data for 26 towns had been collected under World Bank funded KUTIP project and for 8 districts in Nyanza Province under SIDA funded R2000 project, the data was incompatible or incomplete and could therefore not be used.
  2. However, the RICS data collected for the classified roads in 2003 was compatible and was successfully merged to form the complete geodatabase.
  3. Due to poor co-operation from other government agencies, obtaining boundary data for both national, district and local boundaries was very difficult; Some boundary data was eventually obtained from Electoral Commission of Kenya. Despite several attempts to get other datasets such as contours and physical features from the national mapping organization to further enrich the maps, this information was never availed.

Local Knowledge

  • It was found that the District Roads officers, although very knowledgeable on the classified roads, were less knowledgeable in the unclassified roads forcing the field teams to rely on the local residents to locate the roads.

Delays in responding to queries

  • On completing data collection for a district, the Consultant would send maps back to the districts for verification. Some of the responses took too long and this delayed the repeat survey to pick any missing roads.

Size of the network

  • Due to the size of network being surveyed, approx. 100,000km, managing of the field survey teams proved to be very challenging in terms of logistics particularly for the more remote and sparsely populated areas of Kenya.

Creation of districts

  • At the start of the project, the number of established districts was 71. These have been increased and are currently over 250. This particularly affected the preparation of maps; it was eventually agreed to prepare maps for the 71 districts in line with the ToR.

Results of the RICS

Based on the survey data collected, a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) database has been established at Kenya Roads Board. This provides comprehensive road inventory and condition data which is essential for planning and implementation of maintenance and development programmes by Road Authorities.

The Consultant has prepared new road maps for the national roads, districts and urban centers as well as thematic maps for surface type, surface condition and traffic.

Based on the RICS, the road network has been established to be 160,886km long comprising of 11,189km of paved roads and 149,689km of unpaved roads.

There has been some improvement in the road network condition for the classified roads which is currently estimated at 17% good, 51% fair and 31% in poor condition.

However, majority of the unclassified roads are in unmaintainable condition with only 5% good, 22% fair while 72% is in poor condition.

Hence a large portion of the network is in either poor or failed condition and requires urgent rehabilitation to restore it to a maintainable condition. The government therefore, urgently needs additional funding to restore the network to a maintainable condition.

Summary of the Road Inventory

ROAD CLASS

PAVED

UNPAVED

TOTAL

A

2,772

816

3,588

B

1,489

1,156

2,645

C

2,693

5,164

7,857

D

1,238

9,483

10,721

E

577

26,071

26,649

SPR

100

10,376

10,476

U

2,318

96,623

98,941

TOTAL

11,189

149,689

160,886

Summary road conditions

Good

Fair

Poor

Grand Total

Classified

10,651

31,847

19,438

61,936

Unclassified

5,440

22,165

71,345

98,950

Grand Total

16,090

54,012

90,784

160,886

CONDITION CLASSIFIED

17%

51%

31%

100%

CONDITION UNCLASSIFIED

5%

22%

72%

100%

CONDITION ALL

10%

34%

56%

100%

SAMPLE MAPS SHOWING DENSITY OF ROADS MAPPED IN 2004 AND 2009 IN NAKURU AREA

 

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