The government will buy more land to upgrade Mombasa Road
Monday, January 16, 2023
The government plans to acquire additional land to upgrade the old Mombasa road through the widening of some sections, construction of walkways and bus rapid transit (BRT) once the current reconstruction being carried out by a Chinese contractor is completed.
The upgrade will begin shortly after rehabilitation of some sections of the road, which were destroyed during the construction of the Nairobi Expressway, is underway, according to a source at the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha).
Documents from the National Treasury show that taxpayers will spend an estimated Sh24.8 billion on the Nairobi expressway, which has essentially been sold as a privately funded road.
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By the end of June last year, the national treasury had released a total of Sh5.93 billion for the toll road, with an outstanding amount of Sh18.9 billion to be released later.
Much of the money that has already been released has been used to compensate for land during the construction of the Nairobi expressway and the transfer of utilities such as water pipes, electrical lines and poles, and fiber optics.
Although not all funds have yet been disbursed, Business Daily has learned that some funds will be allocated for the upgrade in the upcoming budget for the 2023/24 financial year. as part of the funds to be spent by taxpayers on the Nairobi Expressway that runs from Westlands, Nairobi to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
The old Mombasa road was left in a dilapidated state following the completion of the Nairobi Expressway, the construction phase of which saw contractors dig up not only parts of the Mombasa road, but also the Uhuru Expressway and Waiyaki Way.
In addition, the construction of the 27.4-kilometer highway has severed some lanes of those highways, leaving narrower roads characterized by heavy traffic jams.
Moja Expressway Company, a subsidiary of CRBC, has already started rehabilitating parts of the old Mombasa road that were demolished during the construction of the Nairobi Expressway, a toll road for which motorists pay as much as Sh417.
These repairs are expected to be completed by the end of this year before the government can begin the process of upgrading the old Mombasa road.
This scope of work on the old road includes fixing the drainage system, putting bus rapid transit on the road and fixing footpaths, and it is estimated to cost about Shs 9 billion.
“The construction of the walkways has yet to begin, and the money has not been disclosed. My expressway will have to complete repairs first,” said a Kenha source not authorized to speak to the media.
The project includes the construction of a modern lighting system and the resurfacing of the old road.
The Sh24.8 billion outlay is in addition to the potential liability of the multi-billion project that exposes the Kenyan government to lawsuits if the project is terminated before the 27 years the contractor, China Road and Bridge Corporation, is expected to recoup its investment.
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The Nairobi Expressway is one of several PPP projects for which the government has received a letter of support covering political risks.
My Highway will operate the toll road for 27 years before it is handed over to the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA).
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