No, the Nairobi Expressway hasn’t been opened for free trial yet

The Nairobi Expressway has cost the Kenyan taxpayer at least Sh65 billion. [Courtesy, KeNHA]

The Nairobi Expressway has not been opened to motorists for trial yet.

Last weekend, videos of motorists driving on the multi-billion-shilling road went viral on Facebook and Twitter, with some online users claiming that the road had already been opened for trial ahead of its commissioning by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“The Nairobi Express way is open for testing for free until 31st [March]. If you are driving to Nairobi or Kitengela usikwame kwa jam, jichanue (If you are driving to Nairobi or Kitengela, don’t get stuck in traffic. Be smart),” stated one of the viral claims, with a video of a motorist driving on the expressway attached to the caption.

The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) on Monday night, March 21, clarified that the reports are fake.

“Contrary to speculative information circulating in some social media platforms, this is to notify the public that the Nairobi Expressway is not yet open to traffic,” said KeNHA on their official Facebook page.

“As the contractor nears completion, and in preparation for the eventual opening of the road to the public, there will be guided trials to test the operations of the system that has been installed.

“Being a key road that is expected to decongest the city, the Authority shall inform the public in advance, but at an appropriate time on arrangements to open the road to the public,” said KeNHA.

A communications representative of KeNHA, Sam Kumba, told The Standard that the motorists recorded on video driving on the expressway were contractors clearing the site.

“Some [of the contractors] were collecting their stuff left on site after completion of most sections of the road, while others were testing the driving experience on the expressway from end to end,” said Kumba on phone.

“The road should be ready for use, hopefully, by early April. Of course, the president has to commission it first before it’s allowed for use. Very little work is left before the road construction can be certified as fully complete,” he said.

“A few motorists would be registered to take part in the trial before it’s rolled out to the public for use,” he said.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia had stated in a previous interview that the Nairobi Expressway would be available for use starting March 2022.

“The 27-kilometer expressway that stretches from Mlolongo through Uhuru Highway to the James Gichuru Road junction in Westlands will be used on a trial basis in March 2022, approximately three months earlier than anticipated,” he said at the time.

KeNHA now says the trial dates will be officially announced by the agency.

The expressway has cost the taxpayer at least Sh65 billion.

“We’re currently installing the toll cameras, and, hopefully thereafter, the road will be ready for commissioning,” said Sam Kumba.