Building of the Sh160 billion 233-kilometre Rironi-Nakuru-Mau Summit Road toll highway from Nairobi to Mau Summit is expected to begin before the end of the year, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has said, raising hope of reducing traffic congestion in the Northern corridor.
The highway that transverses Kiambu and Nakuru counties will be built by the Rift Valley Highway Company — a consortium comprising Meridian Infrastructure Africa Fund, Vinci Highways, and Vinci Concessions, a French concessions and construction firm.
The consortium is expected to design, finance, build, operate and maintain the express.
Rift Valley Highway Ltd CEO Cecile Brandao said the rationale for the project made sense to them and they wanted to improve the capacity and safety of the road and deliver first-world infrastructure.
“As private investors, we’re really proud of this long-time partnership that we have with the government of Kenya, and we would like to thank you for the confidence. The fact that you are trusting us to deliver a world-class project...
Working very hard
“I’m here to retaliate (sic) our commitment and deliver this project very soon and ensure that the team is working very hard together with KeNHA [Kenya National Highways Authority] to make this project a reality in the coming weeks,” Ms Brandao said.
She added that the Rironi-Nakuru-Mau Summit Road project is for the people of Kenya.
The project will see the road expanded into a four-lane dual carriageway through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model and have users pay for its costs, as the government turns to tolling as an alternative development financing model.
Forming part of the Northern Corridor, the highway directly serves an estimated population of six million and another 19 million people living in Nakuru County and beyond.
The CS, who was speaking during an inspection of Northern Corridor projects that KeNHA is undertaking, explained that the road will be of the highest standard possible, including interchanges with a viaduct, like the Nairobi Expressway, going through Nakuru.
Negotiations for the project started last year when President Kenyatta held talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
The firm will then recoup its finances using the revenues and income generated by the electronic toll collection system along the road over a period of 30 years.
Major trade route
“The project will upgrade the old Nairobi-Nakuru highway that serves the major trade route between Nairobi and Western Kenya,” Mr Macharia said.
This will be Kenya’s second PPP after handing over the JKIA-Westland’s Expressway to China Road and Bridge Corporation.