The construction of the new road near Ogiek Secondary School will make it easier for the over 7 000 Ogiek community members to transport vegetables, fruit, milk, and other farm produce to the main trading centre.
The construction of the road, which is nearly complete, is set to transform the Ogiek community in Njoro, Nakuru County in Kenya by giving them easier access to schools, hospitals and other amenities.
The road, which is being constructed by the Nakuru County government, will bridge two parts of the Ogiek communal land and eliminate the need to use a 3 km detour to get to the main tarmac road, that gives access to Nessuit Centre, where most services are located.
Construction has also been made possible by using a 12-m-long DN1500 Weholite high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe to culvert the road.
To date, this is the first time such a large diameter HDPE pipe has been used in a road structure of this nature. Highway construction is not only a means of building a surface to carry vehicles, but in many cases, provides a lifeline to the local community. Structures buried under the surface of the roads need to have unique properties to withstand the continual dynamic pressures of heavy traffic passing on the road above. Weholite pipes, manufactured by industrial consultant and manufacturer Megapipes Solutions are designed specifically with this in mind.
Weholite is ideal for road construction because they are extremely corrosion and abrasion resistant, easy to install and have a design life of about 100 years.
The culvert did not need any concrete surround and was backfilled using the excavated good quality soil. Headwalls will be fitted at either end to ensure that soil does not erode which will also help to ensure that the road is not destroyed when there are flash floods.
“The Weholite culvert is durable and efficient in ensuring water is channeled properly so that traffic can flow without disruptions. Additionally, the lightweight construction of Weholite pipes enabled us to install these culverts and get traffic moving, in less than a day, with minimal disruptions,” says Megapipes Solutions member Robert Maina.
Nakuru County, which is pioneering the use of this technology, said the durable nature of the culverts will enable the Ogiek community in Nessuit to have increased accessibility to essential services and a ready market with minimal disruptions.
“The Weholite culverts are durable and environmentally friendly. The culverts were easily transported without any breakages unlike their concrete equivalents; this is the future of road construction,” says Nakuru County executive committee member roads project engineer Reuben Maritim.