Treasury inks Sh2bn loan for dualling Eastern bypass


National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani during a past interview at his office. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The State has borrowed Sh2 billion to undertake the dualling of Nairobi’s busy Eastern Bypass, which stretches from Mombasa Road to the Thika Superhighway.

Treasury documents tabled in Parliament show that the loan, signed on September 28, 2021, is yet to be disbursed to the government.

The Treasury did not disclose the financier of the loan in its schedule of additional expenditure under Article 203 of the Constitution.

The Ministry of Transport is seeking to expand the Eastern Bypass into a dual carriageway.

The road runs from Mombasa Road through City Cabanas, Pipeline, Njiru and Thika Road onwards.

The multi-billion-shilling project is aimed at easing the growing traffic jam on the key road that links motorists from the busy Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Mombasa-Nairobi highway to Thika Superhighway, bypassing the congested central business district.

The road, one of the Vision 2030 infrastructure projects, was designed during the term of the Grand Coalition government. The construction of the 32-km bypass started in 2013.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia previously told the Business Daily that dualling of the Eastern Bypass should have been done from day one.

“They should not have done that road without dualling it,” Mr Macharia said said.

The dualling of the road is part of 11 infrastructure projects that the Kenyan government delegation showcased to global investors during the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation in Beijing, China, in May 2017.

Other projects were the expansion of the Southern and Northern bypasses.

Chinese firms have increasingly won multi-billion shilling roads contracts in Kenya.

China Roads and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) is at the tail end of completing the Sh59 billion Nairobi Expressway.

CRBC is building the 27.1km double-decker highway with privately sourced funds to be recovered through toll charges by its subsidiary, Moja Expressway, which will operate the road for nearly 30 years.

Motorists will have the option of using the Expressway to escape heavy traffic for a fee depending on the size of the vehicle and distance covered.

Most of the mega road projects currently being undertaken countrywide have been financed using loans from China Exim Bank. The Ministry of Transport is set to complete works on four bypasses, with motorists expected to start using the roads from January next year.

The Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern bypasses will significantly cut the time motorists spent on unending traffic snarl-ups as they transit through the CBD to their destinations

The Southern Bypass allows traffic from Mombasa, destined for western Kenya and Uganda to bypass downtown Nairobi, thereby reducing traffic congestion in the city’s central business district. The bypass starts at the junction of Nairobi-Mombasa Road and Likoni Road, about 10 kilometres south-east of the city centre and loops through Nairobi National Park to Kiambu County.

The Northern Bypass starts from Ruaka trading centre on Limuru Road, overpassing Banana Road through Runda and Thome estates. The 31-km bypass then proceeds to Kahawa West and eventually to Ruiru, through Kamae, where it joins the Eastern Bypass.

The Western Bypass will allow motorists to drive through several towns, including Gitaru, Wangige, Ndenderu and Ruaka.

The link is the fourth and final ring road in the Nairobi Ring Road Network Masterplan.

The project also includes construction of 17.31km service roads and construction of seven grade interchanges at Gitaru, Lower Kabete, Wangige, Kihara, Ndenderu, Rumenye and Ruaka.