State seeks Chinese money for roads expansion

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Aerial view of the Southern Bypass linking Mombasa road to Rironi and joining Nairobi-Nakuru Highway.

The Government of Kenya has requested China to provide new money for the expansion of eastern and northern bypasses two roads that were built three years ago.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, currently in China for a major infrastructure conference dubbed Belt and Road Forum, has told journalists on the sidelines that there is urgent need to expand the roads.

The plan, according to the Cabinet Secretary, is to make the two roads dual highways because the traffic has grown tremendously since they were opened.

“If you look at our situation today, we have more vehicles than we should have,” he said.

The Northern bypass runs from Ruaraka to Ruiru while the Eastern one runs from Mombasa Road through Cabanas, Pipeline, Njiru and Thika Road onwards.

The Southern Bypass, is from Kikuyu to Mombasa Road, through Ngong Road

The new initiative will be part of the wider plan to decongest Nairobi.

Macharia also announced that the Government will fast-track a major infrastructure development programme aimed at decongesting Nairobi in the next two years.

Apart from starting the construction of a new light rail system, the government plans to start construction of a new road on top of Mombasa road all the way to Kangemi and will also build the new western bypass from Ruiru to the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

Macharia said while he was in China to look for fresh funding commitments for new projects, the government already has cash for most of the projects it’s undertaking.

“These projects are at the tail end of planning and financing sourcing. Once the paperwork is completed, you will see massive construction work across the city that will dramatically change the face of the city,” said Macharia in an interview.

The CS said construction work on the light rail will start within six months, with a Chinese company building a new line from Syiokimau to Jomo Kenyatta International.

The next big project will be the construction of the new road from JKIA, on top of Mombasa road all the way to James Gichuru.

According to Macharia, the first phase of this project has already begun from Rironi to James Gichuru where the contractor is already on the site.

Phase two which will cover James Gichuru and Ole Sereni, will start early next year while the final phase, from Ole Sereni to JKIA will start around June next year.

With the expansion and duelling of Outering road almost complete, the CS announced that the government was now looking for money to dual the northern and eastern bypasses which he said have now attracted a lot of traffic.

“Since they were completed, these roads have attracted so much traffic that there now jams there most of the time. We believe making them dual carriageways will help ease the congestion on those roads but also on the CBD,” added Macharia.

 

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