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Economy

Sh7.7bn hidden cost of Nairobi’s expressway

Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta when he flagged off road construction works of the expressway in October. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Taxpayers will foot a Sh7.7 billion bill to move water and sewerage lines from the path of Kenya’s first double-decker expressway set to be built in Nairobi, highlighting the hidden costs of the project.

Part of the money will cover the cost of completing water works in the Sh6.8 billion World Bank-backed Northern Collector Tunnel.

The Treasury has asked MPs to approve allocation of the extra cash to be spent by the Ministry of Water and Sanitation on the Northern Collector and the James Gichuru Express Road.

“I draw your attention that the additional Sh7.76 billion budget to the ministry is meant for relocation of water and sewerage works ahead of the construction of the expressway,” Mr Kimani Ichung’wah who chairs the Budget Committee said at a meeting with Parliament budget experts who briefed the team on the Treasury’s Sh85 billion mini-budget.

Treasury secretary Ukur Yatani is expected to provide a detailed breakdown on the planned expenditure.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta in October launched construction of the double-decker road that is set to link the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

The Sh59 billion project will be financed under the public-private partnership (PPP) model, according to the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA). The tender for construction of the 27-kilometre road has been awarded China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).

The road is expected to reduce the heavy traffic gridlocks on Mombasa Road, which usually start from Mlolongo to the city centre.

Transport Secretary James Macharia told the Business Daily in May that motorists would have the option of using the expressway to escape the heavy traffic jams at a fee.

The Chinese contractor is expected to recover its investments from the toll charges.

Motorists using the lower section of the double-decker highway would, however, be spared the toll charges.

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