30 October 2019

The government of Kenya has suspended construction
of the US $3bn Nairobi-Mombasa expressway project for two years. Transport
Cabinet Secretary James Macharia revealed the report and said the suspension is
due to the country’s debt concerns.

“We have decided to suspend the project for at
least two years to allow the country’s debt levels to drop, while also
prioritizing other key projects,” CS James Macharia.

The proposed project involves construction of a 473-km
express way that will begin at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)
along the existing Nairobi-Mombasa highway and will snake through seven
Counties to end at the Changamwe roundabout in Mombasa.

The project according to design maps of the
high-speed road, will bypass the capital city to branch off just past Konza and
terminate onto the Nakuru highway in Kikuyu. According to Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) Director General Peter Mundinia, the road
will have four lanes capable of supporting sustained speeds of up to 120 km
per hour and is expected to reduce travel time between Mombasa and Nairobi from
the current 10 to four hours.

The road development would have
been Kenya’s first expressway and the largest single-contract road project. It
was projected to generate nearly twice the funds spent to build it over a
period of 25 years.

Bechtel, a
US-based private construction conglomerate, won the contract in a
government-to-government deal that formed part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s
discussions with President Donald Trump during his US visit last year.

The expressway project was also projected to create 500 jobs and involving local businesses in supplying up to 100,000 tonnes of cement and 40,000 tonnes of steel that would be used on the road.

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