The proposed high speed expressway linking Mombasa to Nairobi will include the development of a Master Plan for three (3) Special Economic Zones (SEZs), a huge step towards a concept the country has harboured for several years. The new zones will be focused in coordinating with the new Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) that started operations this year.
The planned Sh300 billion Nairobi-Mombasa expressway will be built and owned by a private investor after the government opted out of the taking due to the huge public debt that it is currently facing.
American contractor Bechtel Executive, tapped to build the road, has been pushing Kenya to take a loan for the project, arguing the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model would cost the government Kshs.540 billion in the next 25 years.Transport Cabinet Secretary Mr. James Macharia maintained the PPP model, which will later see the infrastructure transferred to the State, was a cheaper option for taxpayers.
Bechtel International Inc. of San-Francisco, USA (Bechtel), a global leader in designing and constructing motorways signed a contract with the Kenyan government last year.
The high-speed expressway will be one of the most important new pieces of infrastructure in the East African Community. It will have four lanes, with a provision for future increase to six lanes and 19 interchanges, according to the initial plans.
The expressway is set to become a toll road and will provide a faster transit to support growth and industry. As part of the delivery of the project, Bechtel will employ over 4,000 people and provide training and capacity building.
The new 473 Kilometer route will vastly improve the connectivity, efficiency and safety of road transport between Nairobi and the Country’s main seaport of Mombasa. The expressway is a motorway with controlled access designed for consistent speeds of 120 Kilometers per hour and will reduce the journey time from over 10 hours to approximately four (4) hours.
“It will serve as a central part of Kenya’s national transport system, helping to promote trade and development in Kenya and further into landlocked Uganda, Rwanda and DRC Congo,” a senior Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) said.
According to KENHA, this expressway will enable Kenya to competitively develop and expand internal and regional trade. More than 90 percent of goods landing at Mombasa Port are currently transported via road and this infrastructure project will lay the foundation for long-term commercial and industrial growth.
The project has been structured to achieve early completion, under a fast-track delivery model, with concurrent design and construction. The first section, from the Junction with Namanga Road near Kitengela will have an interchange near Konza ICT City and a spur road to Kyumvi (Machakos Turnoff) on Mombasa Road.