The Nairobi Expressway is complete and is now subject to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s availability for commissioning, Parliament has been told.
Infrastructure Principal Secretary Paul Maringa told the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the Sh88 billion expressway will be opened this month depending on Mr Kenyatta’s calendar.
Once launched, motorists will be expected to pay between Sh100 and Sh1,550 in toll charges, depending on the size of the vehicle and the distance covered.
The charges will be dollar-based to cushion the Chinese operator from exchange rate losses.
In March, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) was forced to issue a statement denying that the road had been opened days after viral reports emerged on social media that the highly anticipated expressway had been temporarily opened for use, free of charge, until March 31.
Some motorists shared video clips while driving on the 27-kilometre road claiming that the road had already been opened for the trials ahead of its commissioning by Mr Kenyatta.
On Thursday, Prof Maringa told the committee chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi that the Expressway was ready for opening.
“The Expressway will be launched this month depending on the President’s calendar,” he said.
Mr Wandayi had sought to know the status of key projects currently being undertaken by the ministry given that the term of the current government is coming to an end in three months’ time.
Prof Maringa told lawmakers that the ministry was aggressively following up on project implementation to ensure they are completed as scheduled.
“We are bringing the majority of the key projects to a close,” he said.
In addition to the Expressway, Prof Maringa said several roads, including the Nairobi Western Bypass which is currently 99 percent complete, will be launched before the August polls.
The Sh17 billion Western Bypass connects the Southern Bypass at Gitaru and the Northern Bypass at Ruaka, thereby completing the fourth and final section of the Nairobi Ring Road Network Masterplan, which also comprises the Eastern Bypass.
Prof Maringa said the Athi River-Mulolongo-Mombasa exit way will also be launched ahead of the exit of Mr Kenyatta’s administration.
Also to be launched is the Sh6.5 billion Mombasa-Kwa Jomvu Road, which starts at the junction of Kenyatta Avenue and Digo Road in Mombasa CBD and runs to Makupa area connecting the Makupa Causeway into Changamwe.