Airport-CBD overpass to be built next year, says Macharia

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Construction of an overpass to link Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) with Central Business District is set to commence in March next year.

The overpass also known as a viaduct — a long bridge-like structure, typically a series of arches, carrying a road or railway across a valley or other low ground— will fly over the railway yard at the Nairobi Central Railway Station.

The 20 kilometer line which is will take at least 15 months to complete.

During the 11th forum of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)negotiations meeting on Tuesday , Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said that the line will be less time consuming as it is expected to reduce the journey from the JKIA airport to the CBD to at least 20 minutes.

” Come January next year , a contractor for the project will be picked and actual works will be expected to start in March,” Macharia said.

The Sh 12 billion viaduct is also aimed to ease traffic congestion within the City centre.

The project will involve the procurement of around 60 buses which will linking commuters to the viaduct as well as move passengers from the Central Railway Station tot he CBD.

Nairobi County Government Executive Member for transport Mohammed Dagane said that the viaduct will also connect the Enterprise Road over the railway land and lands into Haile Selassie .

“There are also plans to have an overpass highway along Mombasa road from the airport all the way to Westlands as well and it will be implemented by the National Government,”Dagane told the Star yesterday.

He also said that the viaduct is among the Vision 2030 projects captured in the Nairobi Integrated Urban Development Master Plan aimed at decongesting the capital city .

According to CS Macharia, the government is currently in consultation with various financiers for the construction of the overpass.

Dagane further said that preparations are already underway in the design and construction of the Bus Rapid Transport corridors within the CBD.

“Moi Avenue shall be a one way for both line 2 and 3 towards Kenyatta National Hospital which part of BRT Line 3. The Line will run from from Dandora through Juja Road to Haile Selassie Avenue in the city centre and terminate at Kenyatta National Hospital.

The BRT system is part of the Mass Rapid Transit System which involves rehabilitation of the roads within Nairobi as well as improved transport infrastructure.

On the Thika Superhighway, a lane has already been set aside for the BRT purposes and awaiting for the 100 high capacity buses which the government said it would import.

Last month,The European Union pledged Sh 5 million towards the Nairobi Bus Rapid Transport Project .

The Sh 7b billion project had stalled due to lack of funds especially to purchase the high capacity buses and to build supporting BRT infrastructure.

In October, City Hall banned the two- high capacity buses launched by Isuzu East Africa from the city routes.

City hall had said that the buses failed to meet the specifications that were set out by the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority and the Ministry of Transport.

The buses are supposed to have flat floors without stairs to the doors, the aisles should be wider to allow two or three people to pass at once.

“There was also a specific size of the door and number of doors such buses should have. When we talk about BRT, we are talking about capacity, efficiency and time,” he said.

A task force team which is part of the Nairobi Regeneration Committee is overseeing the setting up of the system.

Dagane who represents the Nairobi County Government seats int he committee together with officials from NTSA. traffic department and the Public Service Vehicles owners.

Matatu Owners Association chairman Simon Kimutai said the BRT system should be fast-tracked in Nairobi so that people can enjoy quality and safe transport service.

The Nairobi Bus Transporters Alliance chairman Edwin Mukabana also supported the BRT system saying that it was mandatory to improve the traffic snarl ups in the city.

Dagane told the Star that the county government is focused in decongesting the city and improving its transport system.

” We are promising a brighter future ahead for Nairobi,’ Dagane said .

SOURCE: the-star.co.ke

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