The contractor building the JKIA-Westlands Expressway expects to cut construction time by six months and deliver the project by June 2022.
This is good news for users of the busy Mombasa Road, which is infamous for the traffic gridlocks witnessed for years.
Since construction works on the expressway started, this has worsened.
Yesterday, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) said it is working with the National Police Service to decongest the road and keep traffic moving on the stretch under construction.
“The expressway cuts across areas with substantial traffic volume and numerous junctions. We have engaged traffic police for the entire period of construction to direct traffic and ensure safety. Currently, Traffic Police have been stationed throughout the site,” said KeNHA.
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KeNha said the expected date of completion for the project, which had initially been slated for December 2022, has been cut by six months.
The Sh60 billion road project runs from Mlolongo and terminates at James Gichuru Road in Westlands. It started in October 2019.
The China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) is constructing the 27.1-kilometre road under a public-private partnership (PPP) framework.
The firm has in addition to designing the road, also sourced for financing to undertake construction works.
The contractor will then operate the expressway for 27 years and recoup its investment through the collection of road tolls.
In a prospectus that CRBC presented to the Ministry of Transport last year, motorists are expected to pay between Sh6 and Sh30 per kilometre depending on the size of the vehicle.
Saloon cars will pay Sh6 per kilometre to use the road - translating to Sh162 - while trucks with four or more axles will pay Sh30 per kilometre or Sh800.
Motorcycles and tuktuks will, however, not pay to use the expressway under the proposals.
The projected revenue is Sh2 billion ($20 million) by 2023, which will be the first year of operation for the road.
This is expected to rise to over Sh10 billion per year by 2043. It is the first major road project to be undertaken through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.
The Nairobi-Mau Summit is also expected to be constructed under the PPP model.
KeNHA estimates that completion of the road will reduce the time motorists take, from two hours during rush hour to between 10 and 15 minutes.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia recently said the JKIA-Westlands expressway will not eat into Nairobi’s Uhuru Park as was previously planned, following a public uproar.