Kenyan roads are currently valued at Sh2 trillion, thereby topping the list of the government’s most expensive assets according to Roads PS Michael Kamau.
Mr Kamau told the Nation newspaper in Nairobi that the Kenyan road network currently stands at about 160,000 kilometres, of which 14,000 kilometres are tarmacked with more being improved daily.
“The Treasury has increased allocation to infrastructure over the years from Sh165.8 billion to Sh221 billion every financial year of which Sh24 billion is used annually for maintenance,” he said.
The PS spoke as the construction of the Sh30 billion Nairobi-Thika Highway, popularly known as Thika Superhighway was nearing completion. The 50.4km highway was initially budgeted at Sh25 billion but the cost went up by Sh5 billion due to escalation in material prices and changes in design and relocation of public utilities such as sewer lines, electricity lines and water pipes.
Thika Highway passes through the trans-Africa highway and is one of the so-called arteries of Africa, which the African Union says should have a free flow at all times, according to Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) director general Meshack Kidenda.
“The road was designed long before the Narc government came power in 2003,” Mr Kidenda said in response to claims that the roads was designed to lead to President Kibaki’s Othaya home.
Mr Kidende said Mombasa Road was being redesigned to ensure that there was a free flow of cars to western Kenya. Part of the design includes an express lane from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Rironi in Limuru.
“The 51-kilometre road, where Haile Salasie to Museum Hill would have an elevated roadway-viaduct, will be constructed in three phases that will start from JKIA to Likoni Road, Likoni to James Gichuru and James Gichuru to Rironi,” he said.
The project is being funded by World Bank at a preliminary cost of Sh17 billion.
Numerous road projects are currently under-way or in the early planning stages in various parts of the country, including the proposed Dongo Kundu bypass in Mombasa, the planned duelling of Outer Ring Road in Nairobi and the proposed bypass in Eldoret.
The 25.7-km Dongo Kundu bypass, which has been in the pipeline for decades, is aimed at de-congesting Mombasa by providing an alternative to the Likoni ferry by linking the mainland with the south coast. It will be constructed at a cost of Sh29 billion.
Outer Ring Road, which is scheduled to begin next year, will cost Sh6 billion while the the proposed bypass in Eldoret will cost Sh2.5 billion. The Eldoret bypass project which will start at the Annex Centre through Elgon View and Langas Estates to Leseru on the Eldoret-Webuye road is aimed to de-congest the busy town.