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Kenha announces Uhuru Highway closure

Motorists who ply through Nairobi’s Uhuru Highway are staring at spending long hours on the road after the Kenya Highway Authority (Kenha) on Friday announced that a section of the busy highway will be closed for 63 days.

According to Kenha, the closure, which begins on August 9, will continue until October 10, due to the ongoing construction of the Nairobi Expressway.

The 63-day traffic disruption will affect the section between Kenyatta Avenue Roundabout to University Way Roundabout.

“There will be traffic disruption along Kenyatta Avenue Roundabout to University Way Roundabout to enable ongoing construction of the Nairobi Expressway. The diversion shall entail closure of three (3) lanes for traffic heading towards Westlands, and creation of two (2) lanes on the road reserve for traffic movement,” said Kenha in a statement.

KeNHA has urged motorists to comply with traffic management plans and follow the direction of traffic marshals as well as road signs.

Already, there have been traffic snarl-ups along Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway and Waiyaki Way caused by the construction of the Nairobi Expressway, with motorists using either the Industrial Area, Jogoo Road or South B as alternative routes into and out of town.

The 27-kilometre Expressway from Mlolongo to the James Gichuru Junction in Westlands will cost about Sh62 billion.

Last month, the Ministry of Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said that the JKIA-Westlands Expressway will be completed by the end of 2021 and opened to the public by February 2022.

He said what users of the road are experiencing is only short-time pain.

“In the meantime, I know there are a lot of inconveniences as people are spending longer hours in traffic but the reason we are constructing the Nairobi Expressway is to solve the traffic jam that was there before. If there was no traffic congestion before there would be no justification to construct the highway. This pain we are having now is very short-term pain,” he said.

People using Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway and Waiyaki Way are the most affected.

For Kenya to achieve this dream, users of the road will have to endure a year of pain in traffic jams. China Road and Bridge Corporation is building the Sh62 billion expressway.

The road project, which is currently at an advanced stage, will see Kenyans pay a small price for the greater good for the 27km stretch, whose construction will ensure “seamless flow of traffic”, among other economic benefits, according to the CS.

Construction work has over the past year burdened road users with long hours in traffic, with motorists having to contend with disruptions.

The Nairobi Expressway will be a four-lane and six-lane dual carriageway within the existing median of Mombasa Road/Uhuru Highway/Waiyaki Way and 10 interchanges.