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Lang’ata Road set for expansion in plans to decongest Nairobi City


Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has unveiled a plan to reduce traffic jams in the city centre by completing a ring road and four link roads.

The minister said Ngong and Outer Ring roads would be improved while Lang’ata Road would be expanded.

The World Bank estimates that Nairobi traffic jams cost Sh50 million in lost productivity a day.

With the city population expected to double to seven million by 2030 and car ownership set to rise from a quarter of the households in 2014 to half by 2025, the need to address the gridlocks has not been more pressing.

Top in the plans is a four-lane, 16.5-kilometre expressway connecting Gitaru and Ruaka.

The road, known as the Western Bypass, will connect the Southern Bypass in Gitaru and the Northern Bypass in Ruaka, completing the ring road.

INTERCHANGES

All major junctions around Nairobi will have modern high-capacity systems with interchanges, according to the new plan by the ministry.

The bypasses forming the ring road would be 96.7 kilometres long once complete.

The Southern Bypass from Mombasa Road to Kikuyu is 28.2 kilometres while the Eastern Bypass linking Mombasa and Thika roads stretches for 52 kilometres.

The Western Bypass will cost Sh17.3 billion, with 17.7 kilometres of service roads and two metre-wide walkways on both sides.

“Our aim is to ensure people can move fast with minimal disruptions,” Mr Macharia told the Nation.

“The link roads will ensure that those who want to reach their destinations without necessarily passing through the central business district do so with ease.”

Other features of the Western Bypass, a brief from the Kenya National Highways Authority shows, are six interchanges and overpasses in Gitaru, Wangige, Kahara, Ndenderu, Rumingi and Ruaka.

There will also be 11 traffic bridges and pedestrian underpasses and seven footbridges.

30 KM BRIDGE

At the same time, the Kenya National Highways Authority plans to construct a 30-kilometre bridge from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Kangemi on Waiyaki Way.

Mr Macharia said the bridge, which he described as one-of-a-kind, would address the problem of passengers missing flights at JKIA, usually blamed on Mombasa Road traffic jams.

And while Kenha seeks to make the big connections, Kenya Urban Roads Authority is in the process of completing the links to highways, with 16 having been done and four expected to be completed soon.

The Transport Ministry has also embarked on a plan to upgrade Ngong, Outer Ring, Lang’ata and Enterprise roads.

At 75 per cent complete, Kura is also constructing the Sh3.01 billion Waiyaki Way-Redhill link road stretching five kilometres through Kyuna, Spring Valley, Kitisuru and Peponi roads.

‘DISTRIBUTED TRAFFIC’

“This project is also aimed at decongesting roads in the capital. Traffic will be distributed across the network, with improved flows,” Kura said.

“The local community will benefit from reduced traffic volumes. This is expected to reflect on the economy as operating costs in the transport industry, business and commuters is expected to reduce.”

When completed, it will be possible for a motorist to cruise from Lang’ata Road through Kibera into Waiyaki Way, Red Hill Road and end up on Thika Superhighway — without passing through the city centre. On Ngong Road, the authority plans to complete the dualling of the carriageway and improving junctions, in addition to the Sh1.98 billion dualling of Dagoretti Corner-Karen junction, all by July 2019.