At least 10 million vehicles have passed through the Nairobi Expressway six months after the 27.4-kilometre road was commissioned, potentially raising hopes that the Chinese contractor could recover costs from charging motorists.
China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) built the double-decker highway with privately-sourced funds to be recovered through toll charges by its subsidiary, Moja Expressway, which will operate the road for 27 years.
The Sh88 billion expressway that links Mlolongo to the Nairobi-Nakuru highway via the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) was launched on July 31, last year, by retired President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Speaking during the event to mark the 10-million milestone Tuesday at the Westlands station, Moja Expressway CEO Steve Zhao noted that, on average, about 50,000 vehicles use the toll road daily, a five-fold jump since it was opened for public trial on May 14.
“As of February 7, 2023, the total number of vehicles that have used the Nairobi Expressway stands at 10,000,000,” said Mr Zhao.
It is, however, not immediately apparent whether the stated number quantifies unique vehicles or is a computation of total passes.
The road, a class A four-lane dual carriage double-decker with a design speed of 80 kilometres per hour, has 11 tolling stations and 54 toll plazas that are equipped with a total of 126 cameras.
It has 11 exchanges at Mlolongo, the standard gauge railway (SGR) station, JKIA, Eastern Bypass, Southern Bypass, Capital Centre, Haile Selassie Avenue, Museum Hill, Westlands, and James Gichuru Road.
Motorists pay between Sh120 and Sh1,800 at the point of exit, depending on the vehicle size and the distance covered.
The Nairobi Expressway is one of the several public-private partnerships.
Moja Expressway will operate the toll road for 27 years before handing it over to the Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA).