By RAWLINGS OTIENO and LEAH GONDI-OGONDI
Traffic jams within the Central Business District in Nairobi could become a thing of the past in the not so distant future.
Nairobi County Governor Evans Kidero says the gridlocks that have almost become a permanent fixture in the city could be sorted out within his first term in office.
The World Bank has already given the city a Sh21.8 billion ($260m) grant to complete transport projects that mooted during former President Kibaki’s reign.
They include construction of a double deck, ultra-modern highway from Nyayo Stadium to ABC place along Waiyaki Way and completion of the city’s eastern, southern and northern bypasses.
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Dr Kidero said that the county government was determined to complete these projects to ease traffic flow and decongest the city.
The grant will also help in revamping the railway system to make transport more affordable to majority of city residents, some who trek to work as they are unable to pay the high fares charged by matatus.
The Governor made the remarks after meeting representatives from the Ministry of Roads, Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura), Kenya Railways and the financiers; the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC).
“We have met with officials from the government and the partners to find ways of completing the projects to ease traffic jams within the CBD. We hope to complete the projects before the end of my first term in office,” said Kidero during a press briefing after the meeting.
On his part, World Bank’s sector leader, Sustainable Development Department Nathan Belete said they were keen to work with Kidero’s government in implementing the projects to develop the city and ease traffic congestion for the development of the country.
“We are keen on working with the governor and want to fast-track the already ongoing transport infrastructure including roads and railway to help the country develop faster,” said the World Bank official.
According the proposals by the high level delegation from the departments dealing with infrastructure, the section between Nyayo National Stadium and the Museum Hill interchange would have an elevated road with two lanes on each side.
The stretch would also have additional special lanes to accommodate a special bus rapid transport system (BRT) that will run from JKIA to Kikuyu. The project will be implemented along nine road corridors among them; Nairobi Railway Station (NRS)-Ruiru-Thika, NRS-Juja Road-Kangundo, NRS-Jomo Kenyatta Airport-Athi River, NRS-Langata Road-Karen and NRS-Upper Hill-Ngong.