Japanese builder races to complete Ngong Road dualling project

Ongoing works on Ngong Road in Nairobi.
Ongoing works on Ngong Road in Nairobi. PHOTO/COURTESY
A project aimed to expand Nairobi’s Ngong Road into a dual carriageway is well underway, with the Japanese contractor racing against time to complete construction works by end of next month.

Phase one of the Ngong Road dualling project, which was initially set for completion in July, has been delayed by five months owing to challenges of shifting water and power lines.

The Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura), the agency overseeing construction, now says the contractor is finalising works on the section of the road – paving the way for its opening early January.

“Ngong Road phase one will be completed on December 31. The contractor has been working from 6am to 6pm,” said Kura acting director general Silas Kinoti.

“We have mobilised enough equipment and personnel in all the spots along the road. We must beat the timeline to allow motorists to enjoy an easier ride.”

World Kaihatsu Kogyo Ltd., a Japanese firm, is undertaking works on the first phase of the project – spanning 2.7km between the Kenya National Library and Prestige Plaza. The project, which was launched in August 2016, will be completed at a cost of Sh1.4 billion.

According to Kura, the dualling of Ngong Road will provide a median to be developed later for Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) or light railway.

“It will also include the installation of street lights, intelligent Traffic signals and walkways for pedestrians,” Kura said in a past press briefing.

A BRT is a transit system designed to allow buses to run for a significant part of their trip within a fully dedicated “right of way” to avoid traffic jam. The system is found in big cities around the world, especially in Europe.

Ngong Road expansion, which will be undertaken in three phases, is funded through a grant by Japan under its Economic Co-operation Programme Project and is being supervised by Tokyo based Katahira and Engineers International.

Phase two of the Ngong Road expansion project – also financed by Japan – will run from Prestige Plaza to Dagoreti Corner, while the final phase will start from Dagoretti Corner to Karen Shopping Centre, a distance of 9.8 kilometres.

In July, the government awarded a Sh2 billion tender for dualling of phase three of the project to China Qinjian International Group (Kenya) Limited.