The construction of the much anticipated new Nairobi-Mombasa will take off towards end of the year, the Kenya National Highways authority said on Thursday.
Kenha’s communication director Charles Njogu said feasibility studies and designs are complete.
Njogu told the Star Kenha has also finalized agreement deals with US-based construction firm, Betctel International.
“The 473 kilometre express highway will allow uninterrupted speeds of 120 kilometres per hour cutting the travel time from 10 hours to four hours,” said Njogu on the phone.
This is a completely new road away from the existing one and it will involve a lot of money because farmers whose land will fall on it will be compensated, added Njogu.
The new road is expected to cost Sh230 billion at completion, and Njogu said the high-speed express way will have four lanes with provision for future expansion.
US Export Credit Agencies, including the US Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, are expected to finance the project.
The expressway is a motorway with controlled access designed for consistent speeds of 120Kph and will reduce the journey time between the two towns from 10 hours to approximately four.
The expressway will become a toll road and provide a faster transit to support growth and industry.
Under the commercial contract, the project will be completed in 10 sections within six years.
The first section, from the Namanga Road junction near Kitengela, will have an interchange near Konza ICT City and a spur road to the Machakos turnoff at Kyumvi.
The first section is scheduled to be opened in October 2019.
Bechtel will employ about 4,000 people and provide training and capacity building. The project will include the development of a Master Plan for three Special Economic Zones along the alignment, and will be focused on developing business in coordination with the standard gauge railway.
A statement by Kenha director general Peter Mundinia, late last year, said the project has been structured to achieve early completion under a fast track delivery model with concurrent design and construction.
The expanded highway will vastly improve the connectivity, efficiency and safety of road transport between the country’s capital and the main seaport city of Mombasa.
Njogu said Kenha is already expanding sections of the highway even as it waits to begin major works for the road.
They include the Athi River – Machakos turnoff and the Mombasa – Mariakani section.
The 20 – kilometre Athi River-Machakos turnoff, which is being undertaken by the China Railway 21st Bureu Group Company Ltd., is expected to cost Sh5.3 billion, according to Njogu.
The segment is being upgraded into a dual carriageway and it will have two bridges.