State upbeat as road nears completion

A section of the Outering Road, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Nairobi’s Eastlands residents can now breathe a sigh of relief after the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) opened Outer Ring road to the public.

Speaking on Friday when he commissioned the road, KURA Director General Silas Kinoti said the 13-kilometre road stretch is expected to ease traffic flow and reduce travel time between Ruaka and Taj mall/Eastern by pass interchange.

With the road covering 60 per cent of city dwellers, it is also expected to save the economy some Sh50 million that was previously lost to traffic snarl-ups daily.

The Sh80 billion project is a partnership between the government and the African Development Bank, which has employed about 1,099 staff for two years.

On conflicting roles that saw the county governments at logger heads with the national government, Kinoti said a gazette notice had been issued by the Ministry of Transport with clear guidelines on where particular roads fall.

“Despite the tremendous success, the project had experienced a myriad challenges ranging from land acquisition, relocation of services, bottlenecks and encroachment along the corridor,” he said.

The Chinese contractor, Sino Tianjon Engineering Company, has assured that the remaining works will be concluded in six months. The project was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2015 as part of Vison 2030. It was expected to open the Eastlands area to economic opportunities.

“Already many businesses are shifting to Eastlands with the establishment of huge supermarkets and industries,” said Kinoti. Besides Outering Road, Kinoti said the government has undertaken various projects within Eastlands area to upgrade roads, for instance, in Komarock and Eastleigh.

He said plans were underway to construct dual carriage Eastern and Northern bypass to blend with the rising demand for improved infrastructure in Eastlands.

He said the government has done 300 kilometres of road at the national level, half of it in Nairobi alone since 2013.