JKIA-Westlands exress way artistic impression.

Kenyans have expressed concerns with the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)-Westlands Expressway recently launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta after it emerged the project will cut through the iconic Uhuru Park.

The move, viewed by many as an ‘insult’ to the memory of Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai’s efforts to preserve the public park for Kenyans’ use.  The internationally-acclaimed environmentalist’s efforts saw the cancellation of plans to erect a 60-storey skyscraper at Uhuru Park.

According to the Sunday Standard, aside from the impact on uhuru Park, undertaking the project will also trigger a wave of compensation worth over Sh4.1 billion.

After its completion, the China Roads and Bridge Company (CRBC) is expected to operate the highway from 2023 to 2029 where it is estimated around 55,236 vehicles will use it in a day.

Also of concern was the fact that in the agreement, CRBC is protected from variations of the US dollar and is mandated to charge increased road toll.

President Uhuru Kenyatta launching the project.

Agreement laid bare

The agreement signed between CRBC and Kenya National Highway Authority (KENHA) will also see motorists pay toll fees before exiting at various interconnections.

Apart from Uhuru Park and The University of Nairobi, other properties affected are Next Gen Mall, Khalsa Primary School, parts of the Railways Club, St Pauls University of Nairobi Catholic Chapel, Military Camp and National Persons with Disabilities plots in Westlands.

Reactions

Through the hashtag #HandsOffUhuruPark, Kenyans voiced their displeasure with the project while the Civil Rights Group has protests planned for today.