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State demolishes Railway Club car yards to pave the way for Nairobi Expressway project

Families at the Nairobi Lunar Park. The
Families at the Nairobi Lunar Park. The amusement park at the Nairobi Railways Club has been demolished to pave the way for the construction of Nairobi Expressway. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG 

Property worth millions of shillings was on Tuesday night demolished at the Nairobi Railways Club to pave the way for the construction of Nairobi Expressway.

Armed policemen demolished car yards at the premises that also hosts the iconic Lunar Park, an amusement park with gaming activities for families and children.

The area is designated to host a bus terminus.

“We are not allowing anybody into these premises. Only hotel workers. Any other party affected can get in touch with Kenya Railways,” a senior police officer told the Business Daily on Wednesday morning.

The demolition was done after the expiry of an eight-hour ejection notice that was issued by the Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme to the traders on Tuesday.

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In the notice, the Scheme warned businesses that fail to evacuate to prepare for a forceful eviction.

“We hereby issue you with an 8 hours’ notice to vacate the premises failure to which you will be forcefully ejected without further reference to you,” said Scheme's acting managing director Pharis Ngotho.

But affected business owners claimed they only received verbal orders from the Scheme management to vacate the area last week.

Lunar Park

The National Land Commission Chairperson Gershom Otachi had on March 12 through Gazette Notice number 2161 announced that the State would compulsorily acquire some parcels of land to allow the multibillion-shilling project to proceed.

The Kenya National Highways Authority (KenHa) was then ordered to enter and acquire the premises beginning Tuesday. 

On the very day, as ordered by the gazette notice, the Kenya Railways visited the business owners and gave them eight hours to remove all their vehicles as well as shut down Lunar Park which is located in the same area. 

The owners of Lunar Park vehemently protested the move. 

On Wednesday, Nairobi Metropolitan Services boss Major General Mohammed Badi announced an about-turn on demolition of Lunar Park, assuring stakeholders that the popular park would be left untouched.

However, Badi said it would be re-modelled after the Greyhound Park in New York, US and be renamed Green Park.

Project

The Nairobi Expressway is a 21.7km road linking the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Nairobi-Nakuru highway that will be built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC).

The three-year project, launched in October last year, is projected to ease heavy traffic on Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway and Waiyaki Way.

It involves a four-lane and six-lane dual carriageway within the existing median of Mombasa Road/Uhuru Highway/Waiyaki Way and 10 interchanges.

Upon completion, motorists using the expressway to escape the heavy traffic jams will be charged toll fees. Those who opt for the lower section of the double-decker highway will be spared the toll charges on the road.

- Additional reporting by Steve Otieno.

Editor's Note: This story has been revised to indicate that Lunar Park was not demolished.

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