Work set to begin on Sh38bn elevated Nairobi highway

Artist’s impression of the elevated roadway-viaduct
Nearly a decade after Parliament approved it, construction is set to begin on the ambitious double decker road linking Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to the Nairobi-Nakuru highway to ease traffic congestion in Nairobi.

This follows the recent signing of an agreement between Kenya and the World Bank to finance the much-delayed project.

The proposed highway, which was approved in 2008, will be built in three phases beginning with phase one, which will be a 6.5km stretch from JKIA to Likoni Road.

Phase two, spanning 12km, will link Likoni Road to the James Gichuru Road junction on Waiyaki Way in Westlands while the final segment will run from James Gichuru Road to Rironi on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

The elevated highway will begin some metres from Haile Selassie roundabout in Nairobi central business district and will run past the existing University Way roundabout.

Haile Selassie Road, Kenyatta Avenue and University Way will pass below the elevated road.

The project, which is part of the Kenya National Highways Authority’s plan to improve the thoroughfare from JKIA to Rironi in an effort to ease traffic congestion in the city, will be built at a cost of Sh38 billion.

According to the KeNHA, China Wu Yi has been awarded the tender for the Westlands-Rironi stretch paving way for groundbreaking while designs for the first two are being settle on.

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The double-decker road will be subject to toll charges and motorists who wish to escape the traffic jams on Mombasa Road by using the facility will have to part with up to Sh1000.

“The express road will be subject to toll charges, estimated at between Sh500 and Sh1000 for convenience to those in a hurry,” said Transport Secretary James Macharia, adding that those unwilling to pay will continue using the current roads.

The project was initially set to begin in 2011 but the plan flopped after the Word bank declined to release funds citing the inclusion of Strabag International in the list of contractors.

The World Bank had earlier blacklisted the Australian firm after it failed to comply with its social and environmental measures, among them land acquisition and local legal provisions.

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