What you need to know:
- President notes that the Sh31bn project promotes trade and plays key role in national unity and integration
The Sh31 billion Nairobi-Thika Superhighway was officially opened on Friday with President Kibaki promising further improvement of roads countrywide.
The Head of State, who was accompanied by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta, said the highway provides a reliable transport corridor linking Kenya with Ethiopia via Moyale and with Tanzania via Namanga.
He noted the road is an important part of the regional and continental transport corridor from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt.
“This superhighway is a great example of efforts and commitment to transform Kenya into a strong economic hub for the region and beyond,” President Kibaki said after planting a tree and unveiling a commemorative plague near Thika Town. He also officially opened the road at Museum roundabout in Nairobi.
The estimated 50-kilometre road has been funded by the Chinese Government, African Development Bank and the Kenyan Government. It took three years to expand the road from two lanes to eight lanes-four on each divide.
He said infrastructure development promotes trade, creates a conducive environment for business and plays a key role in national unity and integration.
Mr Kibaki regretted that road accidents claim 3,000 Kenyans annually and urged road users to abide by the highway code and exercise patience and caution.
The President also directed security agencies to act on vandals or those found trading stolen in road furniture.
“When Narc took over in 2003, we decided to invest in infrastructure,” Mr Odinga said and recalled opposition to demolitions of structures on road reserves during his tenure at Ministry of Roads.
He hailed the driver of a bulldozer that used to bring down the structures, Mr David Ng’ang’a who was feted by President Kibaki on Friday.
“There was heated debate in the Cabinet with some saying we were not respecting sanctity of titles by destroying private property but I told them those on road reserves had been given notices to vacate since 1971 and that we cannot built roads in the air. The President stood firm behind me. That shows when doing something good for the country you should not fear to become unpopular” Mr Odinga said.