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Construction of Western Bypass to ease city traffic begins

Efforts to divert traffic from Nairobi’s city centre have been stepped up with the start of construction works on the Sh17 billion Western Bypass.

The road starts from Ruaka and terminate on the Nakuru highway at Gitaru in Kiambu County. It is the latest in a series of projects, either underway or in various stages of tendering, meant to decongest the capital city.

“We want a situation where you hardly drive into Nairobi if you have no reason to do so, whether you are driving or rely on public transport, there will be a road connecting you to the suburbs with ease,” said Transport secretary James Macharia.

The 31km road is being built by China Road and Bridge Construction.

UPGRADING ROADS

Besides the bypass, the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) is also rehabilitating and upgrading roads in Upper Hill, considered Nairobi’s financial district.

They include Masaba, Matumbato, Chyulu, parts of Lower Hill, Mara and Upper Hill roads.

The roads will be dual carriage constructed to Bitumen standards, the State agency said.

Excavation work along Masaba Road beginning from Bunyala Road began a fortnight ago. The contractor, Tosha Holdings Ltd, said it will be working while the traffic is flowing therefore disruptions will be experienced.

Heavy excavation and lifting equipment will be used and this may disrupt access to property, supply to water, electricity and other services and should it be deemed necessary, the services will be temporarily cut during construction of the roads, Kura warned area residents.

The first of the projects set to give comuters relief is the 13km Outer Ring Road linking Thika Road to the Eastern Bypass and onwards to Kangudo Road and to Jomo Kenyatta Airport. It is set for completion in July.

MASS TRANSPORT BUSES

“We have several mass transport buses currently being piloted and we might acquire more once we confirm they are commercially viable to our businesspeople in the matatu sector, said Mr Macharia.

He said a new body, Nairobi Metropolitan Transport Authority (Namata) had been formed to address incoming traffic to Nairobi and outgoing traffic to Kajiado, Machakos, Muranga and Kiambu counties.

He said Namata would co-ordinate future plans on movement of vehicles towards their regions thereby reducing traffic lockdown along some key routes such as Nakuru-Nairobi, Nairobi-Mombasa, Nairobi-Ongata Rongai, Nairobi-Thika and Nairobi-Kiambu.

The CS said construction of Kenya’s first ever express flyover from Jomo Kenyatta Airport turnoff to Limuru Road had started after it was divided into three lots and tenders awarded to Chinese companies.

“The first company is on the ground and has started work on the Rironi-James Gichuru section, while the James Gichuru-Likoni section is still being designed as it has a lot of other amenities lying on road reserves or crossing at strategic locations,” he said.

The last batch, he said, Likoni-JKIA section had also been designed and its building set for commencement later in the year.

On the planned Mass Rapid transport system, Mr Macharia said that a light rail transport system was planned for two routes with the highest number of commuters, Nairobi-Thika and Nairobi Ngong route.