ON COURSE

Sh17bn Western Bypass 44% complete, says project manager

Construction started on March 15, 2019, and was projected to be complete in 39 months.

In Summary

• Land acquisition and relocation of power lines remain big challenges.

• Covid-19 containment measures have also affected the project. 

The construction of the Sh17 billion Nairobi Western Bypass is 43.9 percent complete, the project manager has said.

The ongoing roadworks along the Wangige stretch interchange. The Western Bypass will complete the city's ring road
The ongoing roadworks along the Wangige stretch interchange. The Western Bypass will complete the city's ring road
Image: Charlene Malwa

The construction of the Sh17 billion Nairobi Western Bypass is 43.9 per cent complete, the project manager has said.

“Construction of the bypass commenced in 2019 and is projected to be complete by the end of 2022,” Eric Yu said.

Yu said land acquisition and relocation of power lines remain big challenges.

The National Land Commission is however in the process of acquiring land.

“Persons Affected by the Project (PAPs) have been identified and gazetted for acquisition,” he said.

By the end of December 2020, Kenya Power had relocated 93 per cent of the power lines in Section I, 85 per cent in section II and 35 per cent in section III.

“The unavailability of land for relocating power mains is the major reason relocation work was not completed by the end of December 2020.”

CRBC chief corporate communications manager Jane Ngugi said Covid-19 containment measures have also affected the project.

She said they were forced to operate fewer hours each day due to the curfew and cessation of movements, which greatly reduced the overall daily work output.

This will have an implication on the projected timelines for completion, Ngugi said.

The unusual rainfall experienced during the months of November 2019 through January 2020 and adverse weather conditions during the months of February through May 2020 also posed a challenge to the project’s implementation.

The construction of the road, which starts in Gitaru and terminates at Ruaka, began on March 15, 2019 and was projected to be complete in 39 months.

It is being funded by the China Exim Bank and the Kenyan government. The contractor is China Road and Bridge Corporation.

The bypass transverses the two subcounties of Kabete and Kiambaa – both in Kiambu county.

It passes through several towns such as Gitaru, Wangige, Ndenderu and Ruaka. It is the fourth and final ring road in the Nairobi Ring Road Network Master Plan.

The other bypasses are Southern Bypass, Northern Bypass, and Eastern Bypass.

The project works include the construction of a dual carriageway with a length of 15.3km and approximately 17.31km of service roads.

It also involves the construction of seven grade interchanges at Gitaru, Lower Kabete, Wangige, Kihara, Ndenderu, Rumenye and Ruaka.

Ten overpasses and five underpasses will also be constructed.

Box culverts and stormwater drainage systems will be installed at designated areas.

The project is a fixed sum contract with a defined scope, meaning the contract has limitations for additional works.

The contractor has already established the main site office at Lower Kabete, with a current work force of 1,451 project employees comprising 96 per cent ( 1,394 ) local personnel and four per cent ( 57 ) expatriates respectively.

On encroachment, the project management has made numerous collaborative efforts to engage stakeholders to align their properties and business activities within the rightful boundaries

The Kenya National Highways Authority has also been reviewing stakeholders’ concerns to reduce inconveniences and maximise on gains for residents as intended in the project’s contract specifications.

Road users have been allowed to use sections that are complete.

Stephen Ngugi, a boda boda rider, said the bypass will open up the area as there will be more vehicles, hence more customers.