The four-lane Nairobi Expressway that seemed like a distant dream is finally coming together and will be completed by the end of this year, the government says. In a tour of the ongoing construction along the Southern By-pass yesterday, the government said the Sh60 billion highway will elevate Nairobi as East Africa’s business hub.
The tour was conducted by Cabinet Secretaries Eugene Wamalwa (Devolution), James Macharia (Transport), and Najib Balala (Tourism).
“Infrastructure has been given a key focus by the government because it is what attracts other investments in other sectors. When we have conferences in the city, we don’t want people stuck in traffic for two hours. When people fly in from abroad and want to board the Standard Gauge Railway, they will not have trouble. We also want business people to come and invest here because of the infrastructure,” Macharia said.
According to Macharia, the 27-kilometre project is just part of the plan to improve the city’s infrastructure. There are three other key constructions set to take place.
“One of them is from Machakos County all the way to Athi River and is already 80 per cent complete. There is also another road being constructed from James Gichuru to Limuru. From Limuru, a new project will begin around mid this year to go up to Mau Summit, and will cover 175 kilometres,” said the CS.
Macharia further said that all the ongoing roadworks were funded by private investors, whom they hope to continue working with in other projects.
“The investors did their own research to establish whether they will get their expected returns. During their feasibility study, they conducted a census that revealed there are 40,000 vehicles using this route in just one day, and that is why the city suffers through terrible traffic jams,” Macharia said.
Balala said the project will have a direct impact on the tourism sector adding it proves the government’s commitment to making the Big Four agenda a reality.
“From our inspection, we are certain the expressway will be ready by the end of this year. Finishing it on time is key for both international and domestic tourists,” Balala said.
Saloon cars will pay a minimum of Sh100 to use the road while trailers, depending on the number of axles, will pay as much as Sh1,550.