Japanese contractors have begun construction work on Ngong Road, marking the start of a project to upgrade the notoriously congested road to dual carriageway.
World Kaihatsu Kogyo Ltd., a Japanese construction firm, is undertaking works on the first phase of of the project – spanning a distance of 2.7km between the Kenya National Library and the Prestige Plaza.
The project, which was launched on Thursday, will be completed at a cost of Sh1.5 billion.
Speaking during the launch, President Uhuru Kenyatta noted that it was unfortunate how businesses in Nairobi had surpassed the growth of infrastructure resulting in congestion of major transport avenues within the city.
“We need to bring an end to the suffering of many Kenyans who are either stuck in traffic or locked out due to poor roads. This will bring us much closer to our target of 10 per cent annual GDP growth especially considering the world bank estimates that an average of Sh12 billion is lost every month in Nairobi as a result of traffic gridlocks,” he said.
According to the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura), the project handlers, the dualling will provide a median to be developed later for Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) or light railway.
“The project 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 press statement.
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.
The Ngong road expansion project is funded through a grant by the Japanese government under its Economic Co-operation Programme Project and will be supervised by Tokyo based Katahira and Engineers International.
Japanese firms are increasingly bidding for infrastructure projects in the Kenya, stepping up competition against Chinese firms which have previously gobbled the bulk of the country’s big dollar projects.
The launch which took place near Uchumi Ngong Hyper was also graced by the Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Toshitsugu Uesawa, Deputy President William Ruto and CS Amina Mohammed among others.