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Construction of Nairobi-Mombasa expressway begins July

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American contractor Bechtel says that construction of the much anticipated Nairobi-Mombasa expressway will begin in July and that Kenya will greatly benefit from the project.

Plans for the 473-kiometre expressway-the region’s first high-speed motorway are in final stages to pave way for actual construction work to start.

Expected to cost Ksh300 billion ($3 billion), the Nairobi-Mombasa expressway will halve travel time between the two Kenyan cities. Bechtel top officials estimate that the road project will generate nearly twice the money spent on the project over a period of 25 years.

Business Daily reports that the financing model was reviewed on March 13, 2018 with National Treasury, and shows a net cash positive position of $5.7 billion (Ksh570 billion) for the Government of Kenya over 25 years under the Bechtel government-to-government model.

Kenya wants a public-private-partnership(PPP)approach on the road construction. Under this model, the firm will source for financing and build the road, then operate it for a number of years during which it will charge motorists for its use.

But Bechtel is inclined to the EPC model, saying that the alternative public private partnership (PPP) would cost five times more at $15 billion (Ksh1.5 trillion) and take much longer to complete.

“The ministry is yet to settle on a model of financing the road, butwe would prefer a public-private-partnership,” Transport CS James Macharia recently told MPs when he appeared before National Assembly Transport Committee.

Plans for the Nairobi-Mombasa expressway comes shortly after Kenya unveiled the Standard Gauge railway line aimed at decongesting the busy road. The east African country hopes that the mega infrastructure projects being undertaken will help open up the country and boost trade.

Bechtel opened a regional Africa office in Nairobi last year in what the engineering firm said reflected the company’s commitment to supporting Africa’s economic growth.

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