Nairobi’s first double-decker highway, which will cover the traffic bottleneck stretch between the Nyayo Stadium roundabout and Westlands, is projected to be completed in four years.
According to Kenya National Highways Authority director general Meshack Kidenda, the design of the World Bank-funded road expected to ease traffic congestion between the airport and Rironi in Limuru is being finalised, and construction should take three to four years.
Under the project, in which the World Bank has loaned Kenya Sh25.5 billion, while the government is expected to provide Sh9.5 billion, Waiyaki Way, which begins at the Westlands roundabout, will be expanded to create an extra lane for commuter buses, up to Rironi.
The new road will transform Nairobi’s infrastructure set-up to that of a modern city, with service lanes allowing for rapid movement of commuter buses and connections with other transport services like railways and airports.
The funding deal was signed last September.
Mr Kidenda announced the road plan when he launched the construction of a footbridge at Bellevue on Mombasa Road in Nairobi yesterday. It is one of five footbridges to be built on Mombasa Road to minimise road accidents involving pedestrians on the six-lane highway.
Another has been planned for at CMC Motors.
The two footbridges will cost Sh363 million provided by Kenya Roads Board’s fuel levy funds.
The double-decker road project is expected to ease gridlock on the Northern Corridor that passes through Nairobi while facilitating faster movement of traffic from the suburbs.
“The project will have rapid mass transport and transit systems with service roads around the airport also to be constructed,” Mr Kidenda said.
HIGH CAPACITY BUSES
The funds are also meant to support reforms to enable the private sector to operate commuter rail and high capacity buses on a bus-rapid transit system.
Former Finance Minister Njeru Githae, when he signed the agreement, said the funds were provided on concessional terms at an interest rate of 0.75 per cent, with a grace period of 10 years and repayment over 30 years.
Nairobi’s population is estimated at four million and experts say the rapid urban transition in the country has resulted in 30 per cent of the population or 15.2 million people residing in towns by 2011—a trend expected to prevail in the coming years.