Factors influencing maintenance of rural roads network in Igembe South sub county, Meru county Kenya
Improving the general road network in the rural areas has been used as a measure to alleviate poverty and attain the Vision 2030. Beyond alleviation of poverty the importance of rural roads extends to all aspects of development of rural communities including demand for and access to health, education, information. However, most rural roads in Kenya experience numerous challenges in their maintenance. This study seeks to focus on the factors influencing maintenance of rural road network in Igembe South with the objectives being: to determine the cost effect on maintenance of rural road network, to establish political effect on maintenance of rural road network, to determine the technology effect on maintenance of rural road network and to establish time factor effects on maintenance of rural road network. The study employs a descriptive survey design using both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The findings of the study include proper planning which is done by expert and estimation is based on cost per unit as the method of approximation, skilled labour, construction materials and machinery are limited thus affecting the total cost of a project. There is political interference on prioritization and budgeting of roads projects, the technology used in the implementation of project is not appropriate for the traffic loading in the area and that projects were not completed on time. The recommendation of the study includes: actual costs per kilometer needs to be established and the information shared by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure to all key stakeholders such as Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA), Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA), Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA), County departments of transport and Infrastructure and any other road agencies in the country so that a more informed opinion may be formed. Inclusion of a better appropriate technology that would be used in rural road maintenance by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure. Technology was too widely perceived by the respondents. Political leadership was found to be the key influence, there would be a good reason as to have all key stakeholders look at the wider societal benefits and a balance between cost and political millage balanced. Both the national assembly and the county assembly should clearly come up with an act and procedure on the extent of involvement of the political leaders influence in rural roads development.