US$120 million boost for Nairobi’s Outer Ring Road facelift

Nairobis outer ring road upgradeThe African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved US$120 million financing for the four-year Outer Ring Road Improvement Project in Nairobi County, Kenya.

The road is in a bad shape currently with numerous potholes and narrow state with traffic even worse when it rains forcing residents to reach home late into the night. Mombasa Road, Jogoo Road, Juja Road and Thika Road are the major corridors serving it.

The project, which would start in 2014 involves upgrading the existing single carriageway road to a two-lane dual carriageway complete with service roads, grade-separated intersections, pedestrian bridges, walkways and cycling tracks over the entire length of the road.

Once complete, the 13 km project is expected to directly enhance the traffic circulation and eliminate traffic bottlenecks to various economic activity centres such as the industrial zone and the vast populous residential areas of Eastlands.

AfDB Eastern Africa regional director Gabriel Negatu said the financing was “a mix of grant and loan” from the Africa Development Fund (ADF), with the Kenyan government being the counterpart financier of the project, the total cost of which was US$130 million.

Negatu said The AfDB group will provide 89.8 percent financing for the total project through the ADF loan of US$115.9 million and grant of US$5 million adding that they believe that this road will not only reduce travel time from 45 minutes to 15 minutes but will transform the socioeconomic welfare of the people living along the transport corridor.

The road traverses Nairobi’s East and North districts, serving an estimated population of at least 2.2 million which represents some 70 percent of Nairobi County population. Other beneficiaries of the project includes users of major city connecting arterial roads, namely the Nairobi–Thika highway, Eastern Bypass, Northern Bypass, Mombasa road and those connecting to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Negatu pointed out that the key outcomes of the project would include improved property values arising from reduced congestion and an improved business environment for informal traders owing to access to new market facilities and improved sanitation.

It is estimated that by improving the existing road, the yearly vehicular greenhouse gas emissions rates in tons for the corridor would drop by at least 70 percent owing to improved average traffic operating speeds along the project corridor particularly with the expected integration of a bus rapid transit system by 2022.

The AfDB previously financed the successful completion of the 50 km Thika superhighway, which was jointly financed by China and the Kenyan government. The Outer Ring Road Improvement Project brings the total kilometres of road financed by the bank in the Nairobi metropolitan to 63 km.

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