In Summary
  • The construction of Rironi-Mau Summit dual carriage road will not only be a game changer in the transport along the Northern corridor but also a big boost to the newly crowned Nakuru City.
  • Nakuru has majorly been referred to as a transit town with those who travel to the western part of the country and other areas of Rift valley making stops in the city
traffic build-up at the entry of Nakuru city, along the Nairobi-Nakuru-Eldoret highway. The railway bridge behind makes it impossible to expand the road.
Image: James Munyua.

The construction of Rironi-Mau Summit dual carriage road will not only be a game-changer in transport along the Northern corridor but also a big boost to the newly crowned Nakuru City.

The construction of a four-kilometer elevated highway through Nakuru city will significantly help alleviate the never-ending traffic snarl-ups to the city.

The raised highway is expected to begin from Nakuru’s free-area to Njoro interchange on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway.

Upon its completion, vehicles not bound for Nakuru city will use the elevated highway, significantly assisting to ease traffic on the existing highway.

Similarly, it will help to attract more investors who had hitherto shunned the city due to the inconveniences caused by traffic gridlocks.

According to Nakuru City manager Gitau Thabanja, Nakuru ought to have had an alternative route as compared to just one narrow road that serves as the only way in and out of Nakuru.

“Due to the railway line that cuts across the city, it makes it almost impossible for the highway to be expanded. The elevated highway remained as the only option to mitigate traffic jam in and out of the city,” Gitau said.

The railway bridge that passes over the highway as you enter the city has been taunted as the biggest possible cause of the highway not being expandable.

Nakuru has majorly been referred to as a transit town with those traveling to the western part of the country and other areas of Rift valley making stops in the city.

It connects the highway to counties like Nairobi, Uasin Gishu, Kisumu, Nandi, Kericho and Kakamega, Kiambu among others.

This signifies its strategic importance as a business hub and a transit point on the Northern Corridor-the busiest and most important transport route in East and Central Africa.

This has however come with a challenge of traffic congestions that are experienced due to the many numbers of vehicles including heavy trucks that use the road.

Edith Rosasi, an urban planner opines the construction of an elevated highway is long overdue and that Nakuru city ought to have an alternative route for traffic to spur its economic growth.

“First we should be proud that the government considered Nakuru to have such a megaproject, the expressway will create city progress, we will be the only county outside Nairobi to have an expressway,” Rosasi said.

Rosasi notes that once the road is complete, it will completely change the economic fortunes of Nakuru not only interms of enticing more investment but also making Nakuru an attractive destination for doing business.

Businessman James Too concurs with Rosasi saying investors have feared coming to invest in Nakuru due to inconveniences caused by transportation problems.

“The proximity between Nakuru and Nairobi is not so big but you use not less than three hours to drive from Nairobi to here, this becomes even more when transporting heavy goods. How then would that attract investors away from Nairobi and Mombasa,” Too inquires.

Consequently, this has been one of the factors that have led to the downfall of some industries in Nakuru which was at one time a buzzing haven to many industries like Eveready among others.

Therefore, the creation of an alternative route for the traffic will mean that Nakuru will be able to compete with other cities like Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu

These cities enjoy a preferably good road network which in turn acts as a catalyst for economic growth.

However, the news of the construction of the Rironi -Mau-Summit, as well as the expressway in Nakuru city, has been received with a pinch of salt by some people.

According to some business people, the construction of an express viaduct through the city might deny it the transit clientele, an important population that contributes to Nakuru’s economy.

As such, Nakuru might lose a substantial share of its economy if the planned express highway will not be looked into.

According to John Njoroge a proprietor of a nightclub in Nakuru city, if not well executed, the viaduct might be detrimental to their businesses.

“We get our patrons from different parts of Kenya, a big chunk of those people are on transit to western Kenya, Kisumu, Busia and even neighbouring Uganda. Some of them just have an impromptu stop in Nakuru, especially at night, and enjoy themselves before continuing with their journey,” Njoroge said.

He added: “If for example, the viaduct road starts somewhere outside the city, then it means some of these people might fly-past the city and by the time they know they are in Nakuru they are already on the other side of the city.”

Edith Rosasi states that the construction of roads especially in an urban setting is something that should be looked into deeply before execution.

She, therefore, advises the relevant authorities to make sure every factor is put forward and discussed before the contractor commences the works.

Rosasi however downplays their fear saying the advantages greatly outweigh the vices.


Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui had from the onset suggested the construction of a by-pass such as the one in Eldoret.

This, according to Kinyanjui, would have spurred economic growth along the route and benefitted Nakuru in expanding the city instead of freeway through the city.

Nakuru town has grown tremendously and was recently elevated to become a city with a charter being delivered by President Uhuru Kenyatta in a colorful ceremony.

This made it the first Municipality to be elevated to a city in under the new constitution, becoming Kenya's fourth city after Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

The Nakuru city board is working round the clock to make it a model city in Kenya, as such it has embarked on an ambitious plan to redesign the city.

The master plan will see street lights, CCTV and pollution sensors installed, pedestrian walkways built and informal dwellings upgraded, among other developments.

This also includes a non-motorized transport programme worth Sh80.7 million funded by the World Bank for the building of pedestrian walkways within the central business district.

According to the city manager and the secretary to the board (Gitau Thabanja), this is geared towards making Nakuru a favorable destination for business but also safe for its residents.

The Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit Highway is part of the Northern Corridor that is used in the transport of goods from the Port of Mombasa through Nairobi to counties in western Kenya and Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and eastern DRC.

It is also a key transit route for passengers.

The proposed development shall expand the road’s capacity and improve its quality, reduce travel times and stimulate economic activity along the corridor

The scope of the project includes widening the existing two-lane road to a four-lane separated highway as well as construction of associated service lanes.

The project will also involve widening the existing Rironi- Mai Mahiu–Naivasha road to becoming a seven-metre carriageway with two-metre shoulders on both sides.

The two projects, which will be completed at a combined cost of Sh230 billion, will be undertaken on a Public-Private Partnership deal in which a company builds a highway, operates it for some years to recoup its investment, before handing over the road to the State.

The Nairobi-Mau Summit Road will be built by Rift Valley Connect – a consortium made up of Highways SAS, Meridian Infrastructure Africa Fund, and Vinci Concessions SAS.

Rift Valley Connect will be expected to design, finance, construct, operate, maintain, and transfer the road to the state at a cost of Sh168 billion.

The 233-kilometre toll highway which is expected to begin this year will traverse through Kiambu and Nakuru counties.

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