In a years’ time, the Nairobi skyline will include a spanking new 27.1-kilometre expressway.
By this time, the project, which is being done by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), is expected to have been completed. The road that will link the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Nairobi-Nakuru highway is already 15 percent complete.
This was disclosed by Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia on Friday during an inspection tour. It was initially to be completed December 2022 but has now been moved to December 2021.
“We want to gift Kenyans this facility as soon as possible, so we discussed with them (contractor) to reduce the time. They first reduced to two and half years, but now we have agreed with them to try and finish the main structures by December 2021,” said the CS.
According to Mr Macharia, the Nairobi Expressway project is a very critical piece of infrastructure because it is a link between east of the country and the west. The project will be extended all the way to Machakos.
He added that the country should not lag behind as others progress.
“Most cities are making a lot of infrastructural investment to attract new investors and we do not want to be left behind. We are seeing this project as an integral part of not just our transport system but overall infrastructural development and that is why we are doing it in conjunction with what is happening at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the railway system.”
The contractor has installed over 69 pillars and earthworks along the stretch. A section of the road from Mlolongo all the way to NextGen Mall, a distance of 18.2 kilometres and which is ongoing, will be a flatbed road, while the section from Nextgen Mall through the City-Centre to St Marks church, covering 8.2 kilometres, will be elevated.
The project has seen over 2,000 Kenyans benefit so far from skilled and unskilled employment opportunities. It is expected to considerably ease traffic flow on the Mlolongo-James Gichuru A8 section and to eventually reduce travel time through Nairobi.
Motorists plying the Sh62 billion highway will be charged between Sh200 to Sh300 in toll fees.
“The private company will be granted a concession to build, operate and transfer the project for 30 years that includes a construction period of three years and thereafter an operation and maintenance period of 27 years,” the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) said.
According to Kenha Director-General Peter Mundinia, upon completion, it will see motorists take only 20 minutes to drive across the city from Mlolongo to Rironi near Limuru, through Westlands.
The Nairobi Expressway involves a four-lane and six-lane dual carriageway within the existing median of Mombasa Road/Uhuru Highway/Waiyaki Way and 10 interchanges.
The toll charges will be kept in a special fund to finance maintenance of the highways and repayment of other roads built by private contractors but fail to generate enough funds to pay investors due to low number of users.