Kenya has inaugurated the much-awaited construction of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport JKIA-Westlands Expressway. While presiding over the event, President Uhuru Kenyatta expressed optimism that the contractor will execute and finish the highway as scheduled.
The US $650m expressway
The US $650m project had been slated to kick-off in August but was pushed to October and construction is set to begin soon. The 18.586km road project will start at JKIA and end at James Gichuru, along Waiyaki way, in Westlands. China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) will undertake the mega-project on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis.
The Government clarified that the PPP framework agreement will see CRBC invest its own money and later recoup its investment from toll fees paid by motorists using the road. This is a departure from the past where the government secured loans to fund construction of major projects.
Motorists will have the option of using the expressway to escape the heavy traffic jams at a fee or toll charges to help the firm recover its investments. However, those using the lower section of the double-decker highway will be spared the toll charges.
Bus rapid transit system
The planned highway will incorporate the bus rapid transit (BRT) system which will involve construction of a dedicated lane for large-capacity buses to ease congestion. It will be elevated near Ole Sereni Hotel through the City Center along Uhuru Highway up to James Gichuru junction and will be completed within two years. The proposed elevated dual carriageway is to be built in three phases beginning with the first 6.5km running from JKIA to Likoni Road and the Southern Bypass interchange.
The second stretch of 12km will connect Likoni Road to James Gichuru Road junction on Waiyaki Way in Westlands, while the last section will run from James Gichuru Road to Rironi, on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway. The road will come with multiple interchanges at intersections on Popo-Kapiti, Lang’ata-Lusaka, Bunyala, Rhapta and James Gichuru roads.