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Uhuru Kenyatta commissions landmark road projects

President Uhuru Kenyatta officially commissioned the 27 km Nairobi Expressway on July 31, 2022. [PSCU, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday officially launched Kenya’s iconic Nairobi Expressway after months of a successful public trial.

The President also commissioned the revamped Nairobi Eastern Bypass which includes five new major vehicular crossings and six-lane dual carriageways at the busy sections of the road.

The 27.8 km Nairobi Eastern Bypass road was expanded from a single two-lane road to a dual four-lane carriageway at a cost of Sh12.5 billion.

The dualling of the bypass began in November 2021 running from Mombasa Road to Thika Super Highway at Kamakis, through Embakasi, Utawala, Ruai and Ruiru towns.

Speaking after launching the mega projects, President Kenyatta said the Nairobi Expressway had eased traffic congestion and enhanced mobility during the trial period.

President Kenyatta emphasised that infrastructural development is key to opening up opportunities for Kenyans.

He expressed his optimism that the expressway and the Eastern Bypass road will significantly address the nightmare of traffic gridlocks in Nairobi estimated to cost the nation over Sh5 billion annually in lost productivity time and wasted fuel.

“We dreamt for an end to the traffic gridlock in Nairobi that cost the nation about Sh5 million in traffic and fuel and the Nairobi Expressway has helped in doing just that,” he said.

President Kenyatta noted that China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), which was tasked with executing the project, designed, financed and built the expressway, and will continue to maintain and operate it for 30 years, before transferring its ownership to the government.

 During the concession period, the company will collect toll charges from which they will regain their investment.

 “The contractor will also revamp the parts of Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway and Waiyaki way at no additional cost to taxpayers. This project is, therefore, a prime example of what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together,” said President Kenyatta.

 The 599 million USD elevated dual carriageway was developed on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement and stretches from Mlolongo through Uhuru Highway to James Gichuru Road junction in Westlands.

He noted that the Nairobi Expressway, which is the largest PPP road project in Africa, serves 45,000 vehicles daily and has reduced travel time on the stretch to about 20 minutes from the previous two hours.

“We have exceeded the number of vehicles that were expected on the Nairobi Expressway during the trial period, the returns may be achieved much sooner than projected,” he said.

He further noted that during the trial window period, the Nairobi Expressway has proved that it has impacted the manufacturing, tourism, and hospitality sectors by directly creating job and investment opportunities in the region.

“This project began in October 2019, and I directed that an accelerated construction programme be implemented within a target completion date of June 2022. I am pleased to note that the major construction works that were originally envisioned to take 36 months were completed within a period of 18 months,” said President Kenyatta.

He stated that infrastructure was his greatest investment during his tenure, which he said, will go a long way to open up more opportunities for Kenya and the region at large.

“The Nairobi Expressway is a fundamental overhaul of how we finance public projects being the first PPP model and the government will use it as a pivot to bridge infrastructure deficit,” he said.

Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, Zhou Pingjian, said that the ties between the two countries have been enhanced with the good support of President Kenyatta.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport James Macharia said the Eastern Bypass road, which had been projected to take a year has taken a record of six months to complete.

The CS reiterated that the road will ease traffic in Nairobi. He noted that the Eastern Bypass project had employed more than 1,000 youths directly and 10, 000 indirectly while promoting the economy of the area.