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Property owners on Mombasa road face eviction as KeNHA gets access to expressway land

Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has been granted access to the land on the wayleave of the Nairobi Expressway.

This was confirmed by Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia when he inspected the construction of the 27.1-kilometre highway yesterday.

The elevated road starts in Mlolongo, traverses Uhuru Highway and ends at the James Gichuru Road junction.

“The 66 KVA power lines that will facilitate the transfer of electricity cables recently arrived in the country. The transfer of other services is progressing,” Mr Macharia said.

He added that prefabrication of box girders is almost complete and that they would soon be installed on-site.

Property owners on Mombasa Road, face eviction as construction of the expressway progresses.

Presidential order

The latest development comes almost a year after the March 12, 2020 Gazette Notice by National Land Commission chairman Gershom Otachi, which ordered businesses to vacate.

“In pursuance of the Land Act, 2012, the National Land Commission on behalf of Kenya National Highways Authority gives notice that the government intends to acquire the following parcels of land for the Nairobi Expressway Project,” the notice said.

According to KeNHA, a presidential order had been issued to the same effect.

The project was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on October 16, 2019.

It is expected to be completed and opened to traffic early next year.

As part of the inspection, Mr Macharia toured the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) interchange, which will facilitate a seamless flow of traffic between Mombasa Road, JKIA and the expressway.

The minister said the project is 33 per cent complete.

Ease traffic flows

He added that the government expects the elevated highway, which is progressing at 60 metres a day from both ends, to be completed by the end of this year.

He instructed the contractor to strictly observe Covid-19 health protocols and implement the project with minimal disruptions to citizens.

The Sh62 billion project is expected to change the skyline of Nairobi.

It will also ease traffic flows in and out of the centre of the city, the CS said.

This is particularly important as the road passes through the City Centre and built-up commercial and residential areas.

The contractor has been instructed to give priority to local content in works and the supply of materials.

Elevated highway

The expressway is the first public-private partnership road project in the country, meaning it will not be financed through the exchequer.

China Roads and Bridge Corporation is responsible for designing, financing and building the expressway.

The company will maintain and operate the road during the concession period.

It will collect toll from motorists who choose to use the elevated highway.

The concessionaire will then transfer the road to the government at the end of the 30-year concession period.

According to Mr Macharia, the project is a critical piece of infrastructure as it is one of a kind in East and Central Africa.

“Nairobi Expressway is an important section of the Northern Corridor, which is the main gateway for exports and imports to our landlocked neighbours of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Eastern DR Congo,” he said.