Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA) has announced that Uhuru Highway will be closed between Kenyatta Avenue and University way roundabouts for 63 days to enable ongoing construction of the Nairobi Expressway.
“The diversion shall entail the closure of three (3) lanes for traffic heading towards Westlands and creation of two (2) lanes on the road reserve for traffic movement,” KENHA.
Motorists are advised to use the diversion as shown on the diagram below or use alternative routes.
The Nairobi expressway construction has been an eyesore to the motorists using that route because of the long hour’s traffic jam that is experienced on that highway.
After the road is completed, it will be a 27km long (17-mile) highway, some of the highways will be elevated and will connect the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the east of the city to the Nairobi-Nakuru highway in the west.
This will put Nairobi strategically businesswise because it will ease the traffic snarl-ups witnessed in that area and the stories of missing a flight because of a jam will be a thing of the past.
The expressway will cost the taxpayer around $550m (£410m) and will dramatically change the city’s skyline and is meant to ease traffic flows in and out of the center of East Africa’s main commercial hub.
The expensive project is being financed and constructed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC). The Chinese firm will operate the highway under a public-private partnership for some years until they get back the money used for the construction of the road and a profit on top of that.
The bad news to Kenyans is that the four- and six-lane dual carriageway, with 10 interchanges along the route, will not be free to use. All the drivers intending to use the expressway will have to pay a toll fee of between $2 and $3 every month.
The goal of improving Nairobi’s roads by the Government of Kenya seems like a laudable cause, but critics argue that those projects could exacerbate the city’s traffic problems and the huge social and economic divide.