Govt Hits Deadlock Over Ksh300B Nairobi-Mombasa Expressway

  • An elevated view of motorists along Mombasa Road-Langata Road. Thursday, October 14, 2019
    An elevated view of motorists along Mombasa Road-Langata Road. Thursday, October 14, 2019
    Simon Kiragu
  • The government has hit an impasse with a US-based firm over the Ksh300 billion Mombasa- Nairobi expressway which is yet to take off, three years after the project got a green light.

    Bechtel, which was contracted to build the expressway in 2017, is yet to break ground on the multibillion project that is expected to ease traffic on the Nairobi - Mombasa Highway. 

    The government and Bechtel have not agreed on whether the highway should be financed through a toll model as proposed in the original plan.   

    Nairobi Expressway workers on site
    Nairobi Expressway workers on site

    According to one of the senior officials from Kenya National Highways Authority(KeNHA) the project had been shelved due to heavy criticism caused by delays and questions on its viability.

    "The project has been put on hold. The construction of the expressway from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Westlands took precedence and this one was shelved," the official stated.

    Reports indicate that negotiations on the funding of the road did not pay off resulting in a stalemate between Bechtel and the Kenyan government.

    Bechtel had raised concerns over tolling the road as a mode of recovering the investments. The US firm cited that the move would discourage motorists from using the expressway.   

    Recently, the government had expanded several stretches of the Mombasa-Nairobi highway that has experienced heavy traffic congestion in the past.

    When asked about the status of the road, Bechtel issued a statement saying that the company is still in talks with the KeNHA and National Treasury about the project.

    The proposed 473 kilometre road will have four lanes and 19 interchanges. The State had proposed three special economic zones along the road that would be stationed at key interchanges. 

    The government had anticipated that the project would create employment for over 4,000 people from 2017 to 2024, the projected time the road is to be completed.