A brand new Expressway it will be

[SIZE=6]that will cruise you to Coast in three hours[/SIZE]
By Paul Wafula
Published: Sep 23rd 2017 at 22:11, Updated: Sep 23rd 2017 at 22:11

(Photo: Courtesy)
Kenya has chosen to build a brand new road between Mombasa and Nairobi instead of expanding the existing highway in what will leave consumers spoilt for choice.

The Sunday Standard has established that instead of turning the current road into an expressway, the government decided to construct a completely new road to run side by side with the existing one.

This means that in another three years, a Kenyan travelling from Mombasa to Nairobi will have at least four major options. One may choose the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) passenger train that takes about five hours or take a flight and land in the coastal town in an hour.

If he wants to travel by road, he will have two roads to pick from.

If in a hurry, and would like to drive at speeds of 120 kilometers per hour, he will take the expressway whose contract was handed to an American firm, Bechtel, three days to the General Election in a deal described as a ‘thank you gift’ to the Americans.

This will not just be the most comfortable drive given how smooth the road would be, it will just take him three and-a-half hours.

But this will not be without a cost. He will have to part with some unspecified amount of money in toll fees to enjoy the road. If he does not want to pay or is not in a hurry, he will still have the current road at his disposal, which will be available but only for smaller vehicles. The current road will also have been downgraded to stop trucks and big buses from using it.

Shelved proposal

It will also mean that the government will buy land afresh, in a similar fashion as it did before it build the SGR, in what could provide land cartels with another round of minting millions from government projects.

The initial proposal, which was shelved in favour of the current deal, involved expansion of the existing highway to four lanes between the Machakos Turnoff to Mariakani.

It has also emerged that the contractor building the controversial expressway will be allowed to ‘sell’ it to another private contractor, who will charge users toll fees to recoup the billions sunk in the project.

“Under the Exim Bank financing model, the government has the opportunity to privatise or securitise the individual sections of the expressway that could reduce the total borrowing requirements,” Engineer Peter Mundinia, the director general of the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) said in a statement.

The authority, however, refused to comment on the cost of the project.

A source familiar with the project says the government will pass the road to private investors, who have the experience to monetise the road.

“Private investors will buy the road and charge toll fees in line with the initial Public Private Partnership (PPP) model after it is constructed. This must not wait until it is fully built but it can start with the sections as they get completed,” a source said in an interview. This will make the multi-billion road the first ‘private road’ in the region.

Kenha has contradicted the Ministry of Transport which had denied claims that the contract had been signed. In a press release this week, Kenha said the commercial contract for the project was signed on August 5.

Reacting to an earlier story by the Standard, Transport CS James Macharia said the deal had not been signed and that several other companies could be allowed to bid.

But Kenha, which handed the project to the American firm without a competitive process, says the development is under its mandate. Available estimates show that the project will cost about Sh300 billion, before the cost of buying the land is factored in.

Kenha says its economic projections show that there is an infrastructural symbiotic relationship between the SGR and the new road as it offers connectivity for people, business and communities along the road.

“Once completed, the expressway will play a critical role in improving Kenya’s transportation logistics and trade competitiveness while supporting the spatial and industrial development along the corridor,” Mundinia said.

Kenha has defended the decision to opt for the construction of a new road on grounds that it is distinct from the PPP alternative given that it offers a new alignment designed as a high speed six-lane expressway of higher capacity and safety standards.

“The expressway project will include highway capacity through construction of the greater Nairobi-Southern Bypass which has been planned for several years, thereby contributing to decongestion of the fast-growing Nairobi Metropolitan Area,” Mundinia said.


Hii maneno tumeiongea saana but we can still revisit

Kwani western Kenya haiunganishi nchi na Uganda?


This will be fine.

Pale Taita Taveta County, someone is gonna mint some serious money. All in all this road is long over due. All major highways in East Africa should be constructed usung the same standard.
I will use the super highway anytime.

Why not invest more in sgr? ;)Runs and hides

I was at an investment lecture by a Vanguard representative who said emerging market debt is the hottest thing right now. Kenyans, hurry up let’s fund those American retirement pension schemes.

Long overdue

still trying to make sense of this given that we have the old road that could have been updated, and we have SGR

Another opportunity to loot under the guise of ‘con’-sultancy fees.

This is nice.

if this doesn’t make sense just visit our neighbouring country ie ethiopia, this is just a half of what they have there…and lo look, manufacturing investment there is growing like nobody’s business

Big G, i truly am trying to understand, what a new road is for with the SGR? you know i am 100%RWNBP which is why am hoping to get a good reason for why this is necessary given funds scarcity and limitation factor and the many more projects of priority.

i know, we are taking that monkey trader to bondo:D:D

but from what conversation i have heard going on, there were various option from which the investor (read american govt.) looked at since its a PPP and they will have tolls along the road so the cash doesn’t come from the govt per se but from your pocket.
the money generated goes on to pay the americans
@spear njoo

hii ni ile ya Bechtel? Why is Govt acquiring land for the project, the road will be private, ala?

It is the other way round, Americans funding the project with their own money. Now here I see Govt is to acquire land. I thought the investor was to foot all that cost and recoup their investment from decades of tolls.

Between building another road to mombasa and investing in the aquifer in the nothern region, based on the fact that it can run kenya for nearly a century, stamp out the constant famine, people suffering, loss of livestock, wiping away the constant tribal clashes, making those people feel a part of Kenya. Talk of food security,fruit export considering the good hot climate. In short this page lacks space enough for its advantages.

Why not first let the SGR run for a few years. We will see its limitations. Then build on them.

I wish I had a government with my interests at heart.

heard the aquifer was found to be too salty. would need alot of investment to desalinate

Its all about tolls…

What about numerous dams mum