The Chinese contractor who built the Nairobi Expressway has won a Sh9 billion tender to rehabilitate the lower section of the 27km double-decker road.
China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) has started works on the new project that is being funded by the state.
The firm just completed the upper deck toll road, which was opened to the public for a trial phase on Saturday before President Uhuru Kenyatta commissions it.
The expressway links Mlolongo, along Mombasa Road, to Waiyaki Way via the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
Kenya launched the construction of the Sh88 billion double-decker road using private investment from CRBC under the public-private partnership (PPP) model.
The Chinese firm is expected to earn an estimated Sh106.8 billion profit for the 27 years it will own the expressway.
“We are going to enhance the old road, all the way from Mlolongo to Westlands, to make sure that motorists who do not use the expressway also have a more beautified enhanced road,” said Transport Secretary James Macharia during a media tour of the new road on Saturday.
“We are finalising a contract of Sh9 billion to make sure we beautify the old road. It makes sense to have the contractor who was doing the expressway rehabilitate the old road.”
Mr Macharia said the scope of the work on the old road would involve fixing the draining system, erecting a bus rapid transport system on the road, and fixing pedestrian walkways. The design also provides the erecting modern lighting system and recarpeting of the old road.
The trial phase of the expressway will attract a toll fee paid at the point of exit. Motorists will pay between Sh120-Sh1,800, depending on the size of the vehicle and the distance covered.
Moja Expressway, a subsidiary of CRBC, which will operate the road, has provided only cash or electronic card as payment methods.
Motorists can either register to use a manual payment system or install an automatic payment system, which will allow them to go through tolling stations faster.
Those using manual tolling cards must have a national identity card (ID) to register for the card, which will cost Sh300 for the installation service charge and at least Sh1,000 must be loaded in points.
Electronic tolling card users will be required to produce an ID and the logbook of the vehicle being registered and pay a Sh1,000 installation service charge and a minimum of Sh2,000 to be loaded onto the card.
They can as well pay via cash to use the road. No M-Pesa payment will be accepted to reduce congestion at the tolling booths, the firm said.