Why Architects Want Nairobi Expressway Design Changed, 4 Features Introduced

An image of one of the electronic speed cameras mounted along the Nairobi expressway (1).jpg
A collage of the expressway and an image of one of the electronic speed cameras mounted along the Nairobi expressway.

The Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) proposed the modification of a section of the Nairobi Expressway to address traffic snarl-ups on the highway and adjacent roads.

In its 2022 Status of the Built Environment Report, the association noted that traffic jams had been witnessed at some of the exit points, such as the Museum Hill exit.

AAK explained that the snarl-ups at the exit point had been occasioned by the payment mode offered by the expressway operator - Moja Expressway.

"With barely three months of use, the road users have experienced various challenges using the expressway. For instance, the cash and MTC exit tolls experience continued congestion as motorists queue for long periods.

Motorists stuck in traffic along the Express Way in Mombasa Road on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Motorists stuck in traffic along the Nairobi Expressway along the Mombasa Road section on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

"These queues often overspill onto the non-stop ETC lanes, creating a snarl-up toward the exits. The Museum Hill exit has suffered the most on this and may require a redesign to address the challenge," read the report in part.

The body also noted that there were plans to create entry and exit points around the Central Business District (CBD) - a move that would enable Kenyans to access the 27-kilometre highway easily.

However, AAK acknowledged reservations over the snarl-up that would be experienced in the changes.

"With an expectation of the process taking three to six months, the proposal instigated mixed reactions, the main areas of contention being the concerns of congestion around the proposed areas and the cost implications of the redesign," read the report in part.

On the other hand, the architects noted that they had made several proposals to the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) regarding the plantation below the elevated section.

The architects proposed that the contractor and relevant road agencies incorporate art on some pillars where the flowers had dried up.

Consequently, the team proposed adopting simpler installation methods instead of vertical gardens - where the flowers are planted on green holders.

"The main recommendations focused on improving the area under the expressway and use of a more sustainable watering method and stormwater management to reduce soil erosion," read the report in part.

Nairobi Expressway runs from Mlolongo to James Gichuru Road and was undertaken at approximately Ksh80 billion.

Over 10 million cars have used the expressway since it was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on July 31, 2022.

Sections of withered plants along the Nairobi Expressway
Sections of withered plants along the Nairobi Expressway.