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Murkomen blames Kibaki for not charging motorists to use Thika Road

The Roads and Transportation Cabinet Secretary, Honorable Kipchumba Murkomen, on Wednesday, April 19, 2023, appeared before the National Assembly to answer questions concerning pending bills, the Nairobi Expressway, and road safety.

In explaining why his Ministry was at a loss over how to finance roads in Kenya, he blamed the late former president Mwai Kibaki and his administration for failing to charge Kenyans to use the Southern Bypass and the Thika Road Superhighway.

“Madam Speaker, the problem we are facing now with financing roads would have been mitigated if the third administration had been bold enough to toll the Southern Bypass and Thika Road.

Remember when Thika Road was being constructed, the argument had been made that it would be tolled. And even the initial infrastructure provided for tolling of the Thika Road.

Since then, political leaders, including all of us and myself, have never been bold enough to toll the roads.

Also read: Comedians mock highway beautification in hilarious ‘Maua ya Expressway’ song

The amount spent in Nairobi alone to dual roads such as Eastern, Southern, Western Bypasses and Outer Ring Road would have built lots of infrastructure elsewhere in the country.

Thus, those who benefit from the infrastructure, are benefitting, should contribute to the building of other roads around the country.

It is my humble request to this House to work with my Ministry to start a very candid discussion on tolling of the roads that are dual and have alternative passing routes for passengers to enable us to raise funds for further construction of the roads and maintenance,” said CS Murkomen in part during the newly introduced question time Parliamentary sessions for Cabinet Secretaries.

The construction of Thika Road commenced in January 2009 and was completed in 2012 when former president Mwai Kibaki (late) inaugurated it.

The Super Highway provides access to over 8 extremely populated estates in Nairobi and Kiambu Counties and Central Kenya via Thika. In 2021, it was estimated that over 150,000 vehicles used the Sh 31 billion 50 kilometers Super Highway daily.

Also read: Outering Road among most unsafe highways in the world

On the other hand, former president Uhuru Kenyatta officially launched the Nairobi Expressway on July 31, 2022, the first Public Private Partnership road project in Kenya.

The road cost taxpayers Sh 70 billion and was constructed within 18 months, half the time it was estimated to be completed.

It takes a driver 24 minutes to complete the length of the Expressway as opposed to the old Waiyaki Way-Mombasa Road- Mlolongo route, which would take more than two hours to complete the same length on a bad traffic day.

The Expressway is tolled at between Sh 180 and Sh 360 between different exit stations and depending on the class of the vehicles using the road.

On the same day, Mr Kenyatta also commissioned the expansion of Eastern Bypass to be revamped with six dual-lane carriageways. The expansion of the 28-kilometer bypass from City Cabanas to Ruitu was approximated to cost Sh 12.5 billion and is not tolled.

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