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Plans for Nairobi-Mombasa expressway project gains momentum

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Construction of a massive road project in Kenya has received the much needed impetus Following the meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and US president Donald Trump.

The Nairobi-Mombasa expressway that would connect the coastal city of Mombasa and the Capital Nairobi will be constructed by US firm Bechtel Corporation.

Expected to cost Ksh300 billion ($3 billion), the 473-kilometre 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

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.

Work on the project was initially slated for July, but an agreement was yet to be reached on financing.

Kenya favours 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.

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