NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 10 – Construction of the Southern bypass in Nairobi is expected to cost Sh17.1 billion, according to the Ministry of Roads.
The Ministry is currently in talks with China\’s Export-Import Bank (Eximbank) to finance the project.
Roads Minister Franklin Bett said that negotiations for the loan agreement are expected to be complete within two months paving way for construction works to commence.
"This is part of the greater efforts of the government to provide enhanced infrastructure in roads in order for it to contribute to the economic development of this country as spelt out in the Vision 2030," Mr Bett said on Monday while hosting China\’s Transport Vice Minister Gao Hong Feng.
The 30-kilometer Southern bypass will link heavy traffic flow on the busy Mombasa Road from the Olesereni Hotel running through Nairobi to Rironi near Limuru.
The Minister said the contractor would be expected to build a dual carriage road on the bypass.
"We expect that level of work to be complete within 30-36 months," he said.
Mr Bett also said he was satisfied with the work being done by Chinese firms in road construction.
"The Vice Minister has already assured me that they are already mobilised on their end and are ready to start when given the go ahead," he said.
The government has in the last few years embarked on major infrastructure development projects with roads taking a lion\’s share.
Apart from the major road construction of the Thika Highway, the government has also been working on the Eastern and Northern bypasses that are estimated to have cost Sh10 billion, of which Sh8.5 billion came from the Chinese government.
Total bilateral assistance between Kenya and China is estimated at Sh42 billion with major Chinese firms landing lucrative infrastructure projects.
Major construction firms to benefit from infrastructure projects in the country include China Road and Bridge Corporation, Shengli Engineering and the China Wu Yi Company.
Mr Bett also revealed that the government had entered into fresh talks with the Chinese government for the expansion of Ngong Road into a dual carriage.
He said the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had already undertaken to carry out the first phase of the project from the City Mortuary Roundabout to Adams Arcade.
The second phase will cover the section up to Karen shopping centre with the third phase from Karen linking up with Langata Road.
"We want the Chinese government and its institutions to carry out the second and third phase of the project to ease traffic flow for our people. We expect negotiations to be complete by June," he said.