The Nairobi Southern Bypass that is set to ease traffic congestion on Mombasa Road has been caught up in a jam that threatens to stop its progress.
The Sh17.5 billion dual carriageway road project has met with fierce opposition from Friends of the Nairobi National Park (FoNNP), who say construction of the road that allegedly passes through the national park would set a dangerous precedent – putting all national parks at risk of development.
The lobby group has successfully petitioned the National Environmental Tribunal to stop the government from commencing construction works on the areas in dispute.
The 30km road project, which was officially launched by President Mwai Kibaki earlier this year, is aimed to link heavy traffic flow on the Mombasa Road near the Ole Sereni Hotel running along the Nairobi National Park fence across Langata Road into Kikuyu town to join the Nairobi-Nakuru highway at Rironi near Limuru.
FoNNP is opposed to the construction of the section between Ole Sereni Hotel on Mombasa road and the Carnivore Hotel on Langata road, saying the road will eat into the national park’s land.
The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has however dismissed the issue raised by the lobby group saying the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has not encroached on the park.
“We wish to inform the public that the proponent, KeNHA, has not encroached on the park. We are not at present aware of any contravention in regard to the conditions of the Environmental Impact Assessment license,” said Nema director general Geoffrey Wahungu.
The road, which is being built by China is financed by the Kenyan and Chinese governments.