Kenya: Nairobi Expressway is 64% Complete

Transport Cabinet Secretary (CS) James Macharia says the Sh62 billion Nairobi Expressway is now 64 percent complete.

Macharia also confirmed the project is progressing well and expressed confidence it will be ready to use by early next year.

The 27.1km highway from Mlolongo through Uhuru Highway to the James Gichuru junction in Westlands was initially to be completed in December 2022 but was moved to December 2021.

The CS stressed that the project, which is implemented by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), is expected to have been completed by December 2021 but the contractor has to test it for a few months before traffic can be allowed.

"The contractor is working around the clock to minimize the inconveniences that Kenyans are facing at the moment. But this is just temporary, Kenyans will be using this magnificent Highway by early next year," he said.

"The contractor has already spent Sh40 billion of the Sh62 billion budget which is being used in the project. Given that the project started last year, this is a huge achievement," said Mr Macharia.

The CS also disclosed that the Ministry of Interior has been providing security along the entire 27.1km double-decker highway so that the contractor can work for 24 hours, 7 days a week without any interruption.

"The Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government has been and will continue to provide security to the contractor so that he can work day and night to make sure that they complete this project by the end of the year," he added.

The expressway was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in October 2019 and was expected to be completed and opened for traffic early next year.

"The Nairobi Expressway is the first Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Road Project in Kenya, meaning that it will not be financed through the exchequer (i.e. neither debt nor GOK funds). The concessionaire, China Roads and Bridge Corporation, is responsible for designing, financing and building the expressway, and will maintain and operate it during the concession period," he said.

The road project, which is currently at an advanced stage, will have Kenyans pay a small price for the greater good for the 27km stretch, whose construction will ensure "seamless flow of traffic", among other economic benefits, according to the CS.

Motorists using both Uhuru Highway and Mombasa Road in Nairobi have been forced to use alternative routes as construction work continues to create traffic snarl-ups.

Construction work has over the past year burdened road users with long hours in traffic, with motorists having to contend with disruptions.

This is especially worse during the peak hours, when motorists hurry to beat the curfew imposed on five counties, including Nairobi, as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Despite the lost productivity and time, CS Macharia said there were losses even before the construction began and that "these are the losses we want to mitigate".

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