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Western Bypass to be complete by December, CS Macharia says

BUSINESS
By James Wanzala | July 18th 2021

Nairobi expressway construction along Mombasa Road. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The nightmare occasioned by the construction of the Sh17 billion Western Bypass, greatly inconveniencing motorists heading out of the city to the western side of the country, will be over at the end of this year.

According to Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, the road will be ready for use by December this year.

According to Macharia, 64 per cent of roadworks on the bypass is now complete and the rest will be cleared in the next five months.

"I have inspected the road and we are happy with the progress. The contractor - China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) - has assured me that in the next five months, the road will be complete," said Macharia.

He said the Sh17 billion link road, which starts at Gitaru up to Ruaka is a 16.8 kilometre four-lane dual carriageway with seven interchanges, and will play a key part in decongesting Nairobi.

He also said it will also create foreign direct investment. The bypass passes through the two sub-counties of Kabete and Kiambaa.

“By constructing this road, we have a complete Nairobi circular and you can now go around Nairobi without passing through the city centre.

“Just like while coming from Mombasa Road, you can use Southern Bypass as you go around Nairobi. This will create seamless connectivity within the city,” said Macharia.

At the same time, the Nairobi Expressway, which was officially launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on October 16, 2019 will be cleared by February next year.

“Initially, the project was to be completed by end of 2023, which is four years from the time it was launched.

However, so far the contractor has spent $385 million (Sh42 billion) out of the expected expenditure of Sh65 billion,” said Macharia.

The 27 kilometre Nairobi Expressway starts at African Inland Church in Mlolongo, all the way to James Gichuru on Waiyaki Way.

It cuts through the city centre with an iconic interchange at the Museum Hill.

“Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) and cycling lanes will be constructed at ground level to cater for those who do not drive,” said Macharia.

He added that the road is part of the Northern Corridor that starts from Machakos turn to Athi River, and Athi River to James Gichuru, from there to Rironi and from Rironi to Mau Summit towards Mai Mahiu, Naivasha.

According to the CRBC, so far the National Land Commission (NLC) has completed compensation awards for the 20 acres of land needed for the project amounting to Sh1.87 billion.

The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has further dispensed a total of Sh520 million to NLC for compensation.

Speaking to The Standard separately, the contractor said the project still requires an additional Sh1.36 billion to clear all the pending land compensation payments. Already KeNHA has set aside Sh1 billion in its budget for the same.

On Thika Road’s Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system, the CS said installment of BRT facilities will cost Sh5 billion, adding that it is progressing well.

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