Rave reviews for Nairobi Expressway to airport

It can take two hours to get to the airport but on the expressway, it's now less than half an hour

In Summary

•11,000 Kenyans registered and we are registering at a rate of 800 per day.

•CS Macharia asks Kenyans to register for electronic pay to avoid congesting the toll stations.

Motorists driving on expressway, Saturday, May 14.
ITS OPEN! Motorists driving on expressway, Saturday, May 14.

Nairobi motorists in Nairobi cruised on the 27km Expressway on Saturday as it was opened to the public for test run.

Initially, travelling from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to the city using the roads took more than two hours.

Now it takes 15 to 27 minutes to cover the distance starting from AIC, Mlolongo, all the way to James Gichuru on Waiyaki Way.

The Star spoke to Jacob Onyango who was driving from the airport to Westlands, taking only 22 minutes on the expressway.

“The ride was simply awesome. I could have done it in 15 to 17 minutes but I spent some time chatting with the attendants at the toll stations,” Onyango said.

He said he was simply testing the road before he uses it, to understand how he can plan his time.

“I wasn’t going anywhere in particular today. Most important, your time is saved, apart from the aesthetics and the feel-good sense you get when driving down a smooth road without traffic,” he said.

“I am only concerned about how they will manage traffic at the toll stations, finding out where people are supposed to exit and whether or not they have paid for it,” he said.

Transport CS James Macharia with an attendant in a toll station booth.
Transport CS James Macharia with an attendant in a toll station booth.

Transport CS James Macharia who opened the multibillion project said it will not only decongest the city but also promote the country as investment destination.

He encouraged motorists to use the electronic mode of payment to avoid congestion at toll stations.

“This road will have a very, very big impact in terms of mobility of Kenyans, visitors, business people and tourists," Macharia said when he opened the project for a trial run.

The project is composed of a four-lane dual carriageway from Mlolongo to the Eastern Bypass and a six-lane dual carriageway from the Eastern Bypass to the Southern Bypass.

There are four-lane dual carriageways from the Southern Bypass to St Mark's Church in Westlands and a four-lane dual carriageway from St Mark's Church to James Gichuru Road.

Traffic jams within the city are estimated to cost the country Sh2 billion annually. It is expected that the project will help decongest the city roads and boost the economy.

“So for yesterday [Saturday], we had 11,000 Kenyans registered and we are registering at a rate of 800 per day, which is a massive,” Macharia said.

The CS said those keen to use the project will increase. Out of the 11,000 registered, 7,000 are using electronic means to pay.

The CS said a census at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport before the project started counted about 40,000 vehicles that were using the wrong side of Mombasa Road causing traffic jams along the corridor.

Macharia said the trial run will last for  three or four weeks.

The project is being undertaken through a Build Operate Transfer contract, meaning the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) will build and operate the expressway for 27 years to recoup the money it has spent to put it up.

CRBC will pocket Sh106.8 billion as profit for the 27 years. After 27 years, CRBC will hand over the project to the government.

(Edited by V. Graham)

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