NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 4 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called for a tripartite meeting between the government, World Bank and Concessionaire of the Northern Corridor Nairobi Concession (NCNC) project to thrash out outstanding issues that are delaying the project.
The Premier said on Friday that there was urgent need for the project to take off to help ease persistent traffic jams in the city that result into loss of millions of shillings in wasted man-hours.
“We want a speedy conclusion to this matter so that it can be presented to Parliament for approval,” he said when he received a progress report on the project,
Mr Odinga decried the delay in its implementation noting that it has taken more than two years since the bids were submitted by the concessionaire.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to the implementation of the project, which is part of the Northern Corridor road link that accounts for approximately 94 percent of Kenya’s land-based freight.
The corridor qualifies Kenya as a major regional transit country for Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Eastern DRC and Eastern Tanzania.
According to the agreed time plan between government, concessionaires and financiers, approval of the Cabinet and Parliament was supposed to have been completed by March 15 this year.
The project includes the design, construction finance, operation and maintenance of the NCNC as a toll highway under a concession contract period covering 30 years.
NCNC will be an open tolling system, where the fee paid is based on the tolled distance within the scope of the toll plazas.
It can result in short distance trips entering or leaving at interchanges between consecutive toll plazas without being charged.
A total of four mainline plazas, two urban and two rural with a high percentage of heavy vehicles and longer-distance traffic constitute the tolling strategy enforcement and collection.
The toll rates and tariffs applied at the plazas have been kept as low as possible in order to be affordable and equitable for the majority of travellers.
There will be alternative routes for those who will want to avoid paying toll charges. For instance toll will only be charged for those driving on the road to be built above Uhuru Highway from the South B flyover to past Westlands – near the St. Mark’s Church footbridge.
Toll charges for the next five years and subsequent five years after construction have been pre-negotiated to ensure the toll rates do not escalate due to fluctuating economic conditions.