Nairobi-Mombasa highway expansion begins 2018 with a Sh230bn price tag

Heavy traffic jam on Mombasa-Nairobi highway
Heavy traffic jam on Mombasa-Nairobi highway. PHOTO/BBC
The much anticipated expansion of the Mombasa-Nairobi highway is expected to begin next year following the looming closure of talks between the Kenyan government and financiers.

The State is hoping to conclude talks with the America’s export-import (Exim) bank for the funding of the Sh230 billion project that will transform the busy road into a dual carriageway.

According to the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) director-general Peter Mundinia , the project will get underway as soon as the talks are concluded later this year.

“We expect and hope that we are going to start construction of this road in the next one year once we complete the talks,” he said, adding that motorists will pay toll fees to use the expanded highway in order to help the State to recoup the construction costs.

Feasibility studies, Mr Mundinia said, have shown that the money spent to expand the highway will be recouped in about 25 years.

KeNHA is already expanding sections of the highway even as it waits to begin major works for the road. These include the Athi River-Machakos turn off and the Mombasa-Mariakani section.

READ: Mombasa-Kigali highway construction is imminent

The 20-kilometre Athi River-Machakos turn-off, which is being undertaken by the China Railway 21st Bureau Group Company Ltd., is expected to cost Sh5.3 billion.

The segment will be upgraded into a dual carriageway and it will have two bridges; one spanning 98 metres for traffic headed to Mombasa and another measuring 50 metres for the Nairobi bound traffic. At 98 metres, the bridge will be the longest along the Northern Corridor.

The Mombasa-Nairobi highway has remained a single carriageway for ages despite its importance as a link between Mombasa and the landlocked Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

There have been plans to build a 1,600 highway between Mombasa and Kigali in Rwanda but the project, which was set to begin last year, has not recorded any meaningful progress.

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