Kenyans have expressed outrage following revelations that taxpayers will fund the rehabilitation of the road network below the Nairobi expressway.
Transport CS James Macharia on Saturday said the contractor will get Sh9 billion for the rehabilitation, sparking outrage from Kenyans who felt that the government was improperly managing public resources.
Kenyan Researcher wondered: “A private company building a for-profit private road, messed up a taxpayer built Mombasa road. Then taxpayer money has been given to the same private company to sort out their mess. Make it make sense!”
The CS has, however, clarified that the money will be used to enhance the old road.
“The contractor is restoring the old road which was damaged during the construction of the expressway. It is being restored at no cost but we want to take advantage of that restoration to do enhancements on some things that were never there before,” he Newszetu on Monday.
“It’s not their business to do the BRT, but that is our responsibility. It has nothing to do with the restoration of the old road but an addition to what was there, then there will be major improvements which were not there before in terms of drainage systems.”
He added: “We are using this opportunity to make major improvements. And yes there will be expansion of the roads, in some places.”
In July 2021, Mr Macharia had said the budget for the entire project would be used to repair three roads – Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway and Waiyaki Way – that are in deplorable condition.
Done under one budget
“During construction, the old road was damaged as the contractor had to do piling. But the contractor, upon completion, will restore the old road and leave it better than they found it. Everything is done under one budget,” Mr Macharia said at the time.
But on Saturday, when members of the public drove on the Nairobi expressway as part of a trial run, Mr Macharia revealed that the government had set aside Sh9 billion to rehabilitate and improve the old road, now referred to as the lower deck.
The construction of the 27km expressway from Mlolongo to Westlands has caused disruptions on parts of Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway and Waiyaki Way.
But Mr Macharia explained that the pillars supporting the upper deck are smack in the middle of the old road, causing detours.
“When we do work as a result of the damage of the old road, the contractor of course takes accountability for that,” said CS Macharia on Saturday.
“We will be putting in the Bus Rapid Transport system (BRT), cycling paths and pedestrian pathways.”
Suave Nairobi expressway
The state of the lower deck could be termed collateral damage from the yet-to-be-commissioned suave Nairobi expressway.
Motorists and pedestrians had complained about the state of the lower deck, citing an incomplete drainage system that directs rainwater from the new higher onto the lower one.
The facelift is expected to commence this month and will involve fixing the drainage systems, erecting street lights, fixing pedestrian and cyclist pathways, and setting up a BRT system, a new feature that was not included in the original cost.
Earlier this month, Kenya National Highways Authority officials told members of the National Assembly’s Transport Committee that the contractor would complete the works soon.
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