Govt Replaces US Company Building Stalled Ksh300B Nairobi - Mombasa Expressway

  • A dual carriage highway.
    A dual carriage highway.
    File
  • The National Government has replaced the US company, Bechtel, contracted to undertake the construction of the Nairobi- Mombasa Expressway.

    Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), reportedly fell out with the US firm tasked to build the Ksh330 billion road.

    Korean firm, Korean Overseas Infrastructure and Urban Development Corporation Africa (KIND), which took over the project, undertook a fresh feasibility study with KeNHA and the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development, and Public Works.

    Artistic Representation of the Nairobi-Mombasa Expressway
    Artistic Representation of the Nairobi-Mombasa Expressway
    File

    On Wednesday, June 29, it presented its findings, detailed demands, traffic and affordability projections for the project.

    It was hence tasked with making fresh plans regarding the flow and sections of the road which will later be publicised by KenHA. 

    The Kenyan government failed to agree with the US company over the financing model. The US reportedly wanted Kenya to secure funds from another company or a loan to fund the project.

    Their decision clashed with Kenya's proposal to the US to have them fund the project and recoup the money through a toll system.

    Uhuru's government had even signed a letter of interest with the US Government’s development finance institution, The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), in September 2016. 

    The stalemate between the two countries made the project to stall for almost five years.

    Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, Bechtel noted that they are still ready to support the project.

    "Despite our commitment to building the Nairobi-Mombasa expressway in the most fiscally responsible way, we have not yet been able to come to an agreement with the Government of Kenya on how to proceed. We believe the expressway – delivered well – could generate many long-term benefits for the people of Kenya, in terms of jobs, economic stimulus, environmental improvements and connectivity. We continue to stand ready to support this transformative project," Bechtel explained.

    Proposed Sections of Nairobi-Mombasa Expressway Project

    The Nairobi- Mombasa Expressway project was initiated in September 2016 as part of Kenya’s Vision 2030. Construction was slated to begin in 2018 but was delayed and pushed to 2019. 

    It involved rehabilitation of the current lanes, construction of additional two lanes alongside the existing highway. 

    The planned dual carriage was supposed to be divided into three main sections. 

    One was to start at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi and end at Kibwezi in Makueni stretching for 174 kilometres.

    Another section was to run between Kibwezi and Voi which is 132 kilometers and the third section was between Voi and Mombasa covering the last 160 kilometers.

    It was to be further subdivided into ten sections including Mombasa-Mariakani, Mariakani-Maji ya Chumvi, Maji ya Chumvi-Bachuma Gate, Bachuma Gate-Mtito Andei, Mtito Andei-Sultan Hamud, Sultan Hamud-Machakos, Machakos-Athi River, and Athi River-JKIA.

    Motorists were set to drive at speeds of up to 120km/h. 

    Nairobi Expressway project near Chiromo road interchange
    Nairobi Expressway project near Chiromo Road interchange
    Moja Expressway