Motorists will be charged for using some roads following Cabinet’s approval of the Nairobi Urban Toll Road Concession.
To be run as a concession by private players, the project is intended to improve traffic efficiency along the Northern Corridor connecting the port of Mombasa to Nairobi, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and DRC.
This will be through removal of bottlenecks by enabling private investment within a toll-road along the most congested urban sections of Uhuru Highway in Nairobi.
These include social amenities like off-road booths for sale of produce and products, bicycle paths, pedestrian side walks among others to enhance safety and benefit roadside communities.
The Government will invite the private sector or the contractor to run and manage the road tolls for about 30 years.
The World Bank is financing part of the project by lending Kenya $190 million (about Sh15 billion), said an official of the bank from the Nairobi office.
“The credit that will be advanced to the Government of Kenya for building part of this infrastructure will amount to about $190 million. This includes the part which is already being used under the on-going Northern Corridor Transport Improvement Project,” Mr Peter Warutere, the World Bank’s spokesman told the Business Daily.
It will cover the Machakos turn-off –Athi River-JKIA-Westlands to Rironi, Kiambu and the Southern by-pass from St James Hospital on Mombasa Road to Kikuyu, off the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.
Parliament will have to approve the plan, which incorporates construction of an elevated road from Nyayo Stadium to the Westlands round-about.
It consists six road sections on Uhuru Highway, covering 77km. The seventh section will be a bypass of 29km as an alternative to the urban stretch of 25 km.
Motorists will pay an estimated Sh20-50 to ply one way along any of the sections of the busy Uhuru Highway, Mombasa Road and Jogoo Road.
Contracted firms will be required to maintain the sections, increase the lanes to four, developing parking, build bus stops, bicycle paths, and pedestrian walks.
Out of the collections, architects of the plan are eyeing the building of three major by-passes, which will help to ease traffic on the busy highways in the city.
Nairobi Northern bypass starts after Ruaraka trading centre on Limuru road to Banana, passing through Runda, Githogoro and crosses Kiambu road above Ridgeways).
It will pass through Marurui, Thome and crosses Kamiti road at Githurai, The road then passes Kahawa West, Kamae to Ruiru and joining the Eastern bypass.
The 40km Eastern bypass starts on the Ruiru-Kiambu road, crosses the Nairobi Northern bypass and the Ruiru railway line onto Thika Road to Ruai. The artery crosses Kangundo Road and heads to Mombasa Road through Embakasi Garrison and the Airport North Road.
The project is expected to be complete in three years and includes construction of interchanges, flyovers, box culverts, and standard pipe culverts.
Improvement works on the Southern by-pass would involve upgrading to a dual carriageway from Machakos turnoff to Athi River, upgrading to six lanes and rehabilitation from Airport Interchange to Uhuru Highway Overpass. It also involves construction of Uhuru Highway Overpass from Lang’ata/Lusaka road roundabout to Westlands roundabout, providing an eight-lane dual carriageway.
Previously, concessioning of the Kenya-Uganda Railway to a South African consortium intended to improve transport and harmonise customs services is yet to materialise as the concessionaire continues to grapple with problems of capacity.
This is because the development of the rail system, a critical ingredient for the success of the toll road in sieving bulk cargo from the road.
Build and operate
In September 2007, an Israeli consortium won a tender to build a Sh35.5 billion road project in Nairobi but the tender had to be cancelled after Housing and Construction Holding Company (H&C), Israel’s biggest construction firm, was said to have been single sourced.
The company, together with Austria-based construction firm, Strabag, which owns the other 50 per cent in the consortium, would build the road in Nairobi under a 30-year build-operate-transfer deal for the 100-kilometre road Nairobi Urban Toll Road Concession project.
At the time, H&C chief executive, Mr Uri Shani, said in a statement the final agreement was subject to negotiations regarding financing and conditions between the companies and the Government.
Motorists using concession facilities pay a charge referred to as “toll charges” to the concessionaire. The charge is determined during bidding and will be agreed on by the Government prior to the implementation.