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July 18, 2018

Nairobi bus rapid transit not possible, Transport CS Macharia says

A section of the Thika Superhighway in Nairobi. Photo/FILE.
A section of the Thika Superhighway in Nairobi. Photo/FILE.

Transport CS James Macharia has said Nairobi lacks adequate space for a bus rapid transit.

The CS attributed the problem to poor planning of the city, saying it does not have a dedicated lane for buses.

But he said the ministry intends to adopt the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, which will address issues concerning public transport.

Among the projects set to resolve traffic congestion are the commuter rail and expansion of various roads in the city.

"We thought it would be much easier and faster to build the rail system as we consider the logistics of BRT," Macharia said during an interview with the Star on Wednesday.

He said the commuter rail will run from Syokimau, where the train stops, to the city, in order to avoid traffic congestion.

Read: Double-decker buses to ease congestion, says CS

Macharia further noted that the benefits of SGR are massive as over 27,000 people have been employed in the project.

"Businesses are coming up on the route from Mombasa to Nairobi," he said.

He cited a factory at Kithekani producing slippers that are used [to lay] the track and another at Emali near Nairobi.

He said the Kenyan infrastructure is being developed in two corridors dubbed LAPSSET, which includes the Lamu Port, Southern Sudan and Ethiopia.

The project will be financed by the private sector, and five companies have been invited to invest.

"LAPSSET is not just one project. You’ll find there’s a port, a railway, resort cities, a refinery, pipeline; so all those elements cannot be done by one company," said Macharia.

He added that the ministry will soon launch the dualing of Ngong Road, which will be expanded by the support of the Japanese government.

The first phase is from City Mortuary to Nakumatt Prestige, and the second phase is from Prestige to Dagoretti corner through to Karen.

"When this is done it will open up that area completely," Macharia said. "I think Nairobi in the next three years will start taking shape."

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