By Samuel Ouma
Nairobi Expressway, which runs for 27.1 kilometers, was the focus of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s comprehensive inspection tour on Thursday, during which he expressed his satisfaction with the progress of the important road.
It is anticipated that the 8-lane elevated dual carriageway, which will be completed in March of next year, will drastically alleviate traffic congestion on Mombasa Road and reduce travel time between Mlolongo and Westlands to 20 minutes.
President Kenyatta, who was accompanied by Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director General Mohamed Badi, laid the final box girder bridge, which will be completed a year after the first was completed on December 26, 2020, during the inspection visit.
President Uhuru Kenyatta remarked, “It is a proud time for us as Kenyans that we are here today seeing the installation of the final of these girders that are connecting this new motorway, the Nairobi Express Way.”
A job well done, the contractor received praise from the Head of State, who expressed confidence that the road would be ready for use by March of the following year.
“I’d like to express my gratitude to the contractors because we began this project exactly one year ago today, three days earlier than the original start date, when we laid the first box girder, and we are now finishing it exactly one year later, three days earlier than the original start date, when we laid the last box girder.”
“I am convinced that the completion date of March, which has been set, will be met because of the rapidity with which they are working at this time. I will be delighted at the prospect of driving all the way from Machakos to Rironi and, ideally, launching the road from Rironi to Mau Summit,” he remarked.
The President confirmed Kenya’s commitment to continue working with the Chinese Government, which he said continues to be Kenya’s most important development partner. The bridge was built through a Public Private Partnership (PPP), according to the President.
In a statement, President Kenyatta said, “Our partnership with China is one that is mutually beneficial, that is based on win-win, and we are extremely thankful to the Chinese Government and people for the help that they continue to offer not only to our country but also to the rest of Africa.”
In his speech, President Kenyatta stated that the expressway had produced over 6,000 direct jobs, benefited 200 subcontractors, and benefited hundreds more local suppliers of construction supplies such as steel, sand, cement, and ballast, among others.
“I would like to express my gratitude to everyone, including the Ministry, the contractor, the Chinese government, security agencies that have guaranteed that people may work around the clock, the National Monitoring System, and everyone else who has contributed,” President Kenyatta stated.
Kenyan Head of State noted that the highway was one of numerous road development projects now underway in Nairobi, which totaled more than 420 kilometers in length.
“I believe that Nairobi will be a really 21st Century city within the next two years as a result of the improvements in road construction, drainage, and sewage that have been implemented,” said President Kenyatta.
Infrastructure Secretary James Macharia, on his part, commended President Kenyatta for promoting the project, noting that its completion will greatly reduce traffic congestion on Mombasa Road.
“We are grateful for your assistance because this project will have a significant impact on our country. Following completion in March, people will only need to travel 20 minutes from the airport to James Gichuru Road,” CS Macharia stated.
In his remarks, he noted that the expressway is just one of numerous Nairobi connection roads planned, and that a comparable project to connect Mlolongo to the Machakos turn-off, a distance of 20 kilometers, was now under construction.
In addition to the 27-kilometer stretch between James Gichuru and Rironi, CS Macharia said there are another 25 kilometers between the two towns.