Nairobi — The 23-metre section of Nairobi Expressway initially set to pass through the historic Uhuru Park recreational grounds will be constructed above ground level, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) said on Thursday.
The announcement came amid criticism of the planned hiving off 1.3 acres to accommodate the multiple-lane road linking the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to the western side of the capital, Nairobi, in bid to address traffic congestion.
The construction will begin in Mlolongo, Machakos, to James Gichuru Road in Westlands.
KeNHA engineer in charge of the project, Stanley Muhasi, said the design of the expressway has now been optimized to ensure that no land will be taken from Uhuru Park.
"There is no part of this park that will be hived off it will remain as it is," he said.
Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna had indicated the 1.3 acres which was to be hived off the Uhuru Park was a matter of fact a road reserve.
"It shall be constructed on road reserve, beautification will be done to this area where the pillars be put up," he said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the construction of the project last month, which aims to de-congesting the traffic flow in Nairobi as well as improving end-user experience.
The road will also enhance economic productivity for the City of Nairobi and the country in general.
The construction of the road will be funded by a private investor, the firm expected to collect toll fees from motorists for 27 years before handing over the road to KeNHA.
The contractor will charge motorists Sh11.24 per km while the entire journey from Mlolongo to James Gichuru Road will cost motorists in a saloon car Sh300.
The proposed project is estimated to cost Sh59.9 billion financed through public-private partnership (PPP).
Oguna assured the government has set aside Sh8 billion to go towards compensating affected private landowners, who he acknowledged have agreed to offer land potions for the project.
"The Government has made deliberate efforts to minimise land acquisition for the project. The preliminary land-take is approximately 35 acres, including 60 percent of public land and 40 percent of private property," he said.
According to KeNHA, no building will be demolished to pave way for the road. The corridor will only affect perimeter walls and hive minimal parcels, the agency said.