Macharia: Eastern Bypass upgrade to complete in June
The Eastern Bypass, currently under expansion into a dual carriageway, will be ready for use in June 2022.
The date was announced by Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia while inspecting the road.
He said the move by the government was meant to ease traffic on the key road linking Mombasa Road to Thika Superhighway and stretching through busy centres such as City Cabanas, Pipeline, Utawala, and Ruiru.
China Communication Construction Company Limited is undertaking this construction.
The Government is expanding the road which he termed as a key transport artery from a two-lane into a modern 4-lane dual carriageway.
The project includes the construction of five major vehicular crossings involving bridges, and a 6-lane dual carriageway on the busy sections of the project road.
“The Eastern Bypass plays a major role in directing traffic away from the Nairobi CBD, and reducing travel times in and around Nairobi,” the CS said.
“Construction works have progressed at an impressive rate and the project is now at 30 percent completion. We expect that the new dual carriageway will be substantially completed by June 2022,” he said.
The Eastern Bypass was initially constructed as a single carriageway.
However, since the road was completed in 2014, considerable urbanization and commerce have emerged along its economic corridor, occasioning significantly increased traffic volumes.
These have in turn resulted in severe and unpredictable traffic jams, which have rendered the road unusable as a reliable link to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
Mr Macharia added that although the Nairobi Expressway, which is nearing completion, is expected to alleviate traffic congestion, it will still leave JKIA dependent on one transport artery, and without a credible redundancy.
“The Government has, therefore, undertaken to expand the Eastern Bypass into a four-lane dual carriageway so that it can serve as a reliable alternative link to JKIA, and to the eastern parts of Kenya,” the CS added.
“As a dual carriageway, the Eastern Bypass will play a bigger role in distributing traffic and alleviating congestion in and around Nairobi.”
Commercial and residential developments on the Eastern Bypass and Kangundo Road have piled pressure on the road, complicating the movement of people and goods on those routes.
Some of the areas that have seen an uptick in new projects are Kamakis, Utawala, Ruai, Kamulu, Joska, Malaa and Tala.
The bypass, one of the Vision 2030 infrastructure projects, was designed during the term of the Grand Coalition government.
The dualling of the road was announced by former Transport Cabinet Secretary Macharia Kamau in 2017 but took time to start as the government sought funds.
Mr Kamau said the road should have been constructed as a dual carriageway from the start.
The dualling of the road is one of 11 infrastructure projects that the Kenyan government delegation showcased to global investors during the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, China, in May 2017.
Others were the expansion of the Southern and Northern bypasses. Chinese firms have increasingly won multibillion-shilling road contracts in Kenya.
China Roads and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) is at the tail end of completing the Sh72 billion Nairobi Expressway.
CRBC is building the 27.1km double-decker highway with privately sourced funds to be recovered through toll charges by its subsidiary, Moja Expressway, which will operate the road for nearly 30 years.
Dualling the road will also boost the proposed Kenyatta family-owned Northlands City that will straddle the Eastern Bypass and Thika Road.
Northlands City, a mega-urban development consisting of residential, industrial, and commercial buildings, will accommodate an estimated 250,000 people.
Easy access is key for attracting investors to the city, and that will bring up to 30,000 vehicles onto the Eastern Bypass and 27,000 onto Thika Road per day.