Toll stations a must on Thika highway

December 11, 2012
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The road which was commissioned last month by President Mwai Kibaki was constructed at a cost of Sh31 billion in lots/XINHUA-File
NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 11 – The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) is seeking the Treasury’s approval to advertise tenders for a company to put up toll stations and manage the maintenance of newly-launched Thika Superhighway.

The authority’s Director General Meshack Kidenda, however said that the contract will probably be awarded later in 2013 after Parliament approves the mechanisms for contracting and charging of motorists who use the road.

He insists that despite the ongoing resistance from motorists, the authority was pushing ahead with plans to raise over Sh1 billion needed every year for the maintenance of the road.

“Because it’s a public private partnership and the law has not yet gone through Parliament, we are seeking some clearance from Treasury. Once we get the green light then we shall put the adverts. We believe in the beginning of the coming calendar year we shall have someone in place,” Kidenda said.

Potential interest could come from firms handling bigger utilities like ports and railways.

The financing model will be one of the key determinants on who will be picked as well as a track record in profitably manning big public facilities for a fee.

An electronic toll management system will be put in place along the route for easy revenue collection from motorists. Levies to be charged on every motor vehicle will depend on a number of factors, including the size of the car.

Kidenda said the level of upkeep needed for the highway would not be met by proceeds from the Fuel Levy Fund for which motorists are charged Sh3 for every litre of petrol.

“As a government, we usually collect fuel levy and it’s not adequate to manage that road. So we are planning to work closely with the private sector,” Kidenda added.

However, regular road users like residents who have to access their homes and workplaces via the highway everyday would be given special receipts and be exempted from the toll or be granted subsidies.

The road which was commissioned last month by President Mwai Kibaki was constructed at a cost of Sh31 billion in lots by three Chinese firms, which included China Wuyi, Sino Hydro and China Shangli.

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