The upgrade of Outer Ring Road in Nairobi will start in April after the government signed a Sh9.8 billion loan with the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Monday.
The conversion of the road into a dual carriage way will ease traffic jams along the link between Thika Road and Jogoo Road, and eventually Mombasa Road.
“On completion, the road will be crucial in complementing the Nairobi-Thika highway and help further decongest the eastern part of the city which has a high population density,” said Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich.
The minister also signed an agreement of Sh7.8 billion with AfDB, for phase one of the Thakwe multi-purpose dam that is expected to bring up to 100,000 acres under irrigation and enhance food security.
The phase is expected to be completed by 2018 with the 77-metre high dam capable of storing 681 million cubic metres of water for supply to Makueni and Kitui, Konza City in Machakos as well as generate 20 megawatts of electricity.
“The Thwake programme will strengthen the drought resilience of the two semi-arid counties of Kitui and Makueni, make them more food independent, water secure and contribute to lowering the poverty rates, which are already over 60 per cent in both counties,” said AfDB regional director for eastern Africa Gabriel Negatu.
Mr Rotich said that the tender for Outer Ring Road is expected to be issued next month and that the road would take three years to complete.
Both loans have a 40-year repayment period with a 10-year grace period at one per cent interest rate. In addition, the loans have accompanying grants of Sh225 million.
The upgrade of the 13-km Outer Ring Road is expected to benefit an estimated 2.2 million city residents.
Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero said that the county would build a fresh produce market along the road in the next financial year to relocate traders from the Wakulima Market.
The Thwake project will be implemented in four phases with phase 2 constituting hydropower generation, phase 3 being the laying of water supply infrastructure and the final phase being irrigation by 2023.
About 1,067 households are expected to be relocated under a compensation scheme as part of the first phase.
AfDB said more should be done to ensure projects are completed on time, giving the example of Upper Hill roads that are behind schedule in construction.
The deals signed Monday bring Sh289 billion the money AfDB has lent Kenya with transport taking up 37 per cent of the commitments and water 17 per cent.