State links Kenyatta family-owned city to Sh40bn bypass

The national highways agency has factored a key interchange that will connect the proposed Kenyatta family-owned Northlands City to the Eastern Bypass in the ongoing Sh40 billion upgrade of the road into a dual carriageway.

Northlands City, a mega urban development comprising of residential, industrial and commercial units, will accommodate an estimated 250,000 people working and living within its boundaries.

Easy access is key for attracting investors to the city, which it is estimated will generate up to 30,000 vehicles per day spilling onto the Eastern Bypass and 27,000 vehicles per day onto the Thika Superhighway.

The 200-acre Infinity Industrial Park under development off the Eastern Bypass is also a major beneficiary of the dualling as well as the Embakasi Garrison, Administration Police Training College-Embakasi, General Service Unit Training School Embakasi as well as numerous residential developments within the expansion path.

On the Northern Bypass Membley and Kigwa Ridge estates, hotels such as Windsor Golf Hotel and Country Club, Two Rivers Mall as well as populous residential developments and industries will also benefit.

The planned Greater Eastern Bypass will start at a junction off the Eastern Bypass towards Thika-Garissa highway further opening up large swathes of unoccupied land for residential and commercial development within Juja Farm.

Traffic jams around newly-built malls in the city have been a major turn-off for shoppers, with some developers such as the Thika Road Mall being required to modify entry and exit routes to ease the flow of vehicles.

Upgrade of the 51.6-kilometre Eastern and Northern Bypasses is currently at the public consultation and environmental approval phases. the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) is constructing the road into a dual thoroughfare complete with service lanes, while the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) is offering expertise on building of the interchanges.

Planners of the Northlands city initially proposed construction of two interchanges, one linking it to Eastern Bypass near Thika Superhighway and another 300 metres away linking the property to the Greater Eastern Bypass.

Kura has, however, rejected the proposal and advised Northlands City planners to amend the masterplan to provide for a single interchange serving as a single junction into and out of the property.

“The (option) requires less land and is more environmentally friendly and is the preferred option even from engineering operational considerations,” says a report by Kura.

The city will, however, get another link road and an additional interchange connection to the populous Githurai area.

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GIBB Africa, which designed the dual road, indicates that the project will be implemented in the next 30 months.

“Designs on the Eastern Bypass should therefore accommodate the project traffic generation,” says Kura in its feasibility report on the highway.

Northlands City, conceived in 2016 and planned by Triad Architects, will be built on 11,800 acres of land.

It will feature residential homes, recreation facilities, a stadium, commercial centres, industrial estates, farms, schools, civic buildings and hotels.

“As Northlands is a major development, the developers request that an additional entry and exit is provided for the development. This is a reasonable request and this third access will be provided approximately 1.5 km from Thika Road,” says the report.

The 31.4 kilometre Eastern Bypass and the 20.2 kilometre Northern Bypass will see the current two-way road increased to four lanes pavement (each 3.5 metres wide) with additional service lanes.

The Northern Bypass is currently used by 15,058 vehicles per day while the Eastern Bypass has 24,417 vehicles per day.

Northlands has easy access to Nairobi via the Thika Superhighway as well as to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) through the Eastern Bypass onto Mombasa road, a key artery for import of raw materials, export of processed and raw agricultural goods.