Africa's first international highway -- the 1500 mile (2400 kms) road from Mombasa in Kenya, to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia -- is nearing completion.
GV PAN Countryside to old road
SV Men working on road using theodolite (2 shots)
SV Earth-moving machinery levelling
SV Shrubbery being cleared (2 shots)
SV Elephants through undergrowth
SV Earth-moving along partly cleared area
SV Camels along road
SV Men looking at sign
CU TILT DOWN sign showing mileages to towns
SV Rollers rolling out new section of road
LV Section of new road
SV TRACKING SHOTS Along new road and lorry past (2 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Africa's first international highway -- the 1500 mile (2400 kms) road from Mombasa in Kenya, to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia -- is nearing completion.
The highway will open up the vast desert hinterland between Kenya and Ethiopia and revolutionise communications in an area unchanged for thousands of years. The idea for the road, a mutual dream of Emperor Haile Selassie and President Kenyatta of Kenya, was first conceived more than five years ago. The firs leg of the highway, the 300 miles from Mombasa to Nairobi, was opened two years ago, and soon traffic was sweeping up the second leg, the 125-mile stretch from the Kenyan capital to Nanyuki on the slopes of Mount Kenya.
Now construction crews are putting the finishing touches to the third section, a fifty-one mile motorway from Nanyuki to the frontier town of Isiolo. This section is planned to the open before the next rains in October this year. The road here climbs more than 9,000 feet into the foothills of Mount Kenya.
From Isiolo the road will stretch across the Northern Frontier Desert to meet the Ethiopian section of the highway. The link to Addis Ababa is presently under construction and when finished the highway will cut the driving time between the two capitals from eight-days to 48-hours.
The road makers work in heat which often reaches 120 degrees fahrenheit in the shade and they also have to contend with malarial mosquitoes and the abundant wild life of the region. Elephants constantly roam near the construction camps. Lion, leopard and cheetah are often sighted.
The date for completion of the international highway is presently set at 1971. When the official opening comes and the traffic rolls along the tar-sealed motorway -- the camels, traditional form of transport in the desert, will no longer cross the area with their heavy packs of food, spices and silks.