KENYA ALL SET FOR FIRST ‘DOUBLE DECKER’ ROAD ACROSS THE CITY
It was learned from usually reliable sources in Nairobi that the Kenyan government and the World Bank have signed a loan agreement for 25.5 billion Kenya Shillings, aimed to finance the construction of a new ‘upper level’ road across the city, running along the axis from the Mombasa Road before the bottleneck ‘Nyayo Stadium Roundabout’ to the Westlands area, where it will rejoin the then dual carriage highway leading out of the city towards the Great African Rift Valley, Naivasha, Nakuru and beyond. On the lower level an extra lane will be added in each direction for commuter busses, aimed to improve the traffic flow and cater for the increase in traffic seen along the major Nairobi throughfares in recent years. Under the agreement the Kenyan government will contribute counterpart funds of over 110 million UD Dollars equivalent to the construction. It is also understood that part of this loan will be dedicated towards the construction of bypasses in Kisumu, Kenya’s lakeside city on Lake Victoria, as well as for the Meru municipality, while leaving out at present any such work for places like Nakuru or Eldoret, where equally bypasses are needed to keep the growing transit traffic to the border with Uganda out of the town centres.
The project was immediately praised as a significant step forward to decongest Nairobi by tourism sources from across Kenya, some of whom however used the opportunity to lament the growing traffic snarl up when entering the Mombasa area of Changamwe, where regular traffic jams extend for kilometers along the highway, delaying departures and arrivals of safaris as well as obstructing timely airport transfers. Said one regular Mombasa source: ‘That is good news for Nairobi. But what about us in Mombasa. The bypass to the SouthCoast still has not taken off and the traffic jams into Mombasa when coming from the Nairobi highway and the airport are getting worse. Mombasa remains Kenya’s key destination for tourists from abroad and for traders coming to do business with the port. We should not be forgotten’.
Recent repeated visits to Kenya, including trips to upcountry destinations, have confirmed the immense progress made in constructing and maintaining key roads across the country, and indeed, as expressed to sources in Kenya when meeting them, the Kibaki presidency will be remembered for many things, but first and foremost for his legacy in road construction, something neglected in the past.
Combined with the new planned airport expansion of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, these infrastructure projects, not to forget the LAPSSET project, are certain to propel Kenya well into the 21st century and help the country to remain the economic locomotive of the entire region. Watch this space.