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23 meters to be hived off Uhuru Park for expressway is road reserve – Govt

Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has come out to defend the planned hiving off of a section of Uhuru Park to make way for the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)-Westlands Expressway.

According to KeNHA, the construction will see an area of 1.3 acres and 23 meters situated along Uhuru Highway hived off from the park, a section which the government said is public land.

“We therefore appreciate the emotions and sentimental value attached to it. It is for this reason that only 23 meters of the park will be hived off for the land will be used to put up pillars that will support the elevated road. Upon completion, the section will have furniture, flower beds and other amenities that will enable Kenyans to continue enjoying the park,” said Government Spokesperson, Cyrus Oguna.

The sentiments follow concerns raised by angry Kenyans against touching the public park to facilitate the project.

“We wish to clarify that the 23 meters into the park are road reserve for Uhuru Highway, thus, Uhuru Park remains untouched,” he added.

Once constructed, the Nairobi expressway is expected to reduce congestion in the Nairobi Central Business district and improve economic activities in the city.

The Sh59 billion project, which will be financed under the public-private partnership (PPP), will commence at Mlolongo and head to JKIA all the way to James Gichuru road.

KeNHA has further explained that the developer will take a risk to construct the expressway as the existing road will still be maintained and in use and that no motorist will be forced to use the expressway.

Kenyans were angered by reports that the double-decker road which will have multiple interchanges at intersections on Popo-Kapiti, Lang’ata-Lusaka, Bunyala, Rhapta, and James Gichuru roads will cut through Uhuru Park, a popular recreational ground located in the city.