NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 2 – Construction that will transform Ngong Road into a dual carriageway is expected to be underway in the next few months, with a projected completion date of February 2015.
The notoriously congested road that has been a headache for motorists heading to Karen and the Central Business District will be expanded courtesy of a Sh1.68 billion (¥1.56 million) grant from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Newly appointed JICA President Akihiko Tanaka, said it will take a few more months before actual construction can begin. However once complete, the more efficient Ngong Road should see a decrease in transport costs and travel time.
“The project intends to make the section of Ngong Road between Adams Arcade roundabout and Kenyatta Avenue crossroad double in lanes. This section is one of the toughest places in terms of traffic jams in Nairobi,” he said.
It has been estimated that the population of the Nairobi will increase from the current three million to 4.3 million in 2025, hence the urgent need to upgrade the city’s roadways.
According to a recent study by IBM Corporation, Kenya loses close to Sh50 million a day due to traffic congestion in the city of Nairobi and its environs, primarily due to the time wasted on the road and cost of fuel among other challenges.
Tanaka, who is touring various JICA projects in the region, also signed another Sh28.84 billion loan agreement with Finance Minister Njeru Githae 10 days ago, for the construction of the Mombasa Port Area Road also known as the Dongo Kundu bypass.
The construction of the bypass is aimed at decongesting the city of Mombasa by providing an alternative to the Likoni ferry crossing by linking the mainland with the South Coast.
Other JICA projects include the Western Ring Roads Project that has experienced some delays due to the relocation or removal of service lines such as electric poles and wires as well as water and sewer pipes.
“Time is money. All stakeholders will need to cooperate with the contractor more closely. I am saying this because we are serious in the quality of work including timeliness of completion,” Tanaka said.
The project, he added, should be completed by the end of the year.
So far, Kenya has received ¥514.69 million to date that has gone into the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, Nairobi Missing Links Project, the Embu Water Supply and Mwea Irrigation Development Project among other areas.
JICA is also eyeing prospects in the LAPSSET (Lamu Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor) project with plans to begin feasibility studies soon.