Major works begin on Outer Ring Road in bid to decongest Nairobi

President Uhuru Kenyatta commissions the Outer Ring Road expansion project in Nairobi on January 22, 2014.
President Uhuru Kenyatta commissions the Outer Ring Road expansion project in Nairobi on January 22, 2014. PHOTO/FILE
The long-awaited expansion of Outering Road in Nairobi got underway on Thursday, as part of the government’s plan to decongest the Kenyan capital city.

The Sh7.4bn project that was officially launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday will involve upgrading Outering Road from a single lane to a dual carriageway in a bid to ease traffic jam in Eastlands while connecting Thika Road to Mombasa Road and the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The Outer Ring Road project will be financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Kenyan government, with AfDB contributing 88.5 per cent of the funding and the State meeting 11.5 per cent of the project cost.

The AfDB loan is repayable over 40 years after a 10-year grace period at an interest rate of one per cent.

“This project is among many that we have in Nairobi to de-congest the city and bring down the cost of living and transport,” President Kenyatta said Thursday adding that most of the roads projects target the Eastlands area.

READ: New plan to ease Nairobi traffic jam

The 13km dual carriageway (two lanes in each direction) starts from Thika Road/Ruaraka Junction at the GSU headquarters to Taj Mall on the Eastern Bypass in Embakasi.

The project involves dualling, service roads, ten footbridges, six subways for the safety of pedestrians, a Bus Rapid Transit corridor to be built later, non-motorised traffic and six interchanges.

The Outering Road expansion project will also see deviation roads of about 12km being upgraded for use by the public during the construction period. These include Thika Road- Mathare North-Juja road; Mtarakwa – Komarock Road; Embakasi Barracks – Kangundo Road and Eastern Bypass-Outer Ring Road.

SinoHydro Corporation, a Chinese firm that partially built Thika Superhighway, is due to carry out the civil works over 36 months – meaning the road should be ready by December 2017. The firm is in a familiar territory having built the 14km stretch of Thika Road between Muthaiga and Kenyatta University.

The project will be supervised by Lea International, a Canadian engineering firm, which – in a joint venture with its Indian subsidiary – won the Sh370 million tender.