Kenya needs over Sh500 billion to build highways, says Minister

Construction workers build a road in Kisumu.
Construction workers build a road in Kisumu. PHOTO/FILE
The government requires more than Sh500 billion to complete the construction of all roads classified as highways, according to Roads minister Franklin Bett.

The minister told The Star on Saturday that the European Union, the World Bank and the Japanese government had pledged grants to be used on road expansion and maintenance projects.

“We have already spent Sh110 billion to fix and maintain roads categorised as Class A, B and C,” Mr Bett said adding that the government had earmarked to complete the major roads rehabilitation works by December.

Earlier this year, Kenya received a Sh29 billion loan from Japan, through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), to fund the construction of a 26 km bypass that will connect the island of Mombasa to South Coast.

The road also known as Dongo Kundu Bypass is aimed at de-congesting Mombasa by providing an alternative to the Likoni ferry by linking the mainland with the south coast. It is the second largest project after the LAPSSET Corridor.

The World Bank has also advanced Kenya some Sh25 billion to expand the capacity of the Uhuru Highway and to initiate a rapid bus transit and commuter rail system.

According to the Kenya National Highways Authority, the major components of this project include the construction of two additional lanes from JKIA to Nyayo Stadium from where an double decker road with two lanes on either side will be erected to the roundabout.

The project is aimed at easing traffic jam in Nairobi and facilitating faster movement of people and cargo transiting through the capital city.

Earlier this month, the World Bank released Sh6.4 billion to fund the rehabilitation of the highway that links Kisumu and Kitale towns. The 147 km road project will kick off in October and will entail reconstruction and widening of the existing road and construction of service roads and market loops.

In the past five years, the Kenyan government has embarked on an ambitious infrastructure development program aimed at making Kenya the regional business hub.