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Construction projects in Kenya that are changing the face of the country

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The face of Kenya is changing at tremendous pace thanks to mega infrastructure projects. From highways to ports to technology cities Kenya is a country to watch. We look at top mega projects in Kenya that are changing the face of the country.

Nairobi Expressway

Kenya launched the Nairobi Expressway on the 31st of July 2022 after a public trial period from May 2022. In an effort to ease traffic and decongest Nairobi city, the 87.9 billion road starts from Mlolongo to Westlands and has 11 toll stations and 27 toll plazas.

Motorists have to pay a minimum of KES 120 to use the road, using either of the three payment options- cash payment, Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) for nonstop cashless access, and Manual Toll Collection (MTC) card for tap-and-go card-based cashless access. With barely three months of use, the road-users have experienced various challenges using the expressway.

For instance, the cash and MTC exit tolls experience continued congestion as motorists have to queue for long periods. These queues often overspill onto the non-stop ETC lanes, creating a snarl-up toward the exits. The Museum Hill exit has suffered the most on this and may require a redesign to address the challenge.

Within the same month of its opening, the government announced the plan to redesign the road to allow motorists from Westlands to exit at Nyayo House while those from the Airport to land at Haile Selassie Avenue or Green Park bus terminus.

With an expectation of the process taking three to six months, the proposal instigated mixed reactions, the main areas of contention being the concerns of congestion around the proposed areas and the cost implications of the redesign.

Makupa Bridge

The government commissioned the construction of the Makupa Bridge and demolishing of the existing Makupa Causeway. Built in 1929 by the British colonial government, Makupa Causeway links Mombasa Island to the Kenyan mainland.

The bridge had reportedly been interfering with the marine ecosystem beneath due to the water flow restriction resulting in impediment of the natural oceanic waves and the free flow of aqueous oxygen and contributing to the damage of fish breeding grounds.

Completion of the new bridge will pave the way for the single-lane causeway’s demolition. On August 4th, 2022, H.E. the former president Uhuru Kenyatta launched the historic bridge which returns Mombasa to its initial island status.

The Makupa Bridge design comprises two four-lane parallel bridges with a width of 20 meters each, an extra two-meter rail for non-motorized traffic, and a pedestrian footpath and will give the road users a good view of the ocean.

The design meets the requirements of the UNESCO standards on the preservation of marine life, which nearly delisted Mombasa from the list of island cities of the world.

While the bridge now allows seawater to flow freely connecting Tudor and Port Reitz creeks, it also provides a long-term solution to the traffic congestion that was being experienced on this main transport artery to the Moi International Airport and the Standard Gauge Railway Mombasa Terminus at Miritini.

Nairobi Eastern Bypass

The dualling of the Nairobi Eastern Bypass began in November 2020 after years of traffic congestion. The 27.8 Km road serves busy urban centers such as Pipeline, Utawala and Ruiru and was upgraded from a 2-lane single carriageway to a 4-lane dual carriageway at a cost of KES 12.5 billion.

The Bypass is a key transport artery that links Mombasa Road to the Thika Superhighway and had been experiencing traffic gridlock over the years, with motorists complaining about how driving along the road was a daunting task.

Mombasa Gate Bridge

The Government of the Republic of Kenya (GoK), through the Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) and the support of the Government of Japan through JICA, is developing the Mombasa Gate Bridge (MGB) Construction Project.

This will be a 13.2km development inclusive of approach roads with a channel crossing bridge with a 500- 600 m1 width channel with busy vessel navigation, estimated to cost USD 700 – 900 million. It will require the erection of a cable-stayed bridge that will support four traffic lanes, with a height of 69 metres at the mid-point for ships to pass underneath on their way into and out of the Kilindini harbour.

The project will contribute to the achievement of SDG 9 (Build Resilient Infrastructure, Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization and Foster) Innovation.

It aims to mitigate traffic congestion and facilitate efficient transportation and logistics around the Mombasa area, which is the gateway of East Africa, through the construction of a large-scale cable-stayed bridge linking Mombasa Island and the South Mainland of Likoni. This will improve local development and is expected to contribute to regional economic activities and the development of Kenya and the surrounding regions.

The temporary floating bridge that was opened in December 2020 at Likoni to ease traffic will be dismantled once the bridge is complete. The construction of the bridge is estimated to begin in June 2023 and last three to four years.

Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone
The Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone is located in Mombasa, along the East African
coastline, occupying approx. 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres). Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are part of the flagship projects under the Economic Pillar of the Kenya Vision 2030.

The SEZs are geared towards improving Kenya’s competitiveness as an investment destination by having an industrial park, port, free port/free trade zone, residential and commercial areas as well as MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions).

The government is rolling out the key initiatives and supporting infrastructure at the 3,000-acre flagship project to ready it for investors by the end of 2024. The activities include the implementation of a resettlement action plan, the completion of the Dongo Kundu bypass, the demarcation and titling of land, and construction of berths along the SEZ and the area under the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).

Lamu Port and LAPSSET
This was one of the flagship projects of Kenya Vision 2030. The mega project comprises seven key infrastructure projects starting with a new 32 Berth port at Lamu (Kenya); Interregional Highways from Lamu to Isiolo, Isiolo to Juba (South Sudan), Isiolo to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), and Lamu to Garsen (Kenya), Crude Oil Pipeline from Lamu to Isiolo, Isiolo to Juba; Product Oil Pipeline from Lamu to Isiolo, Isiolo to Addis Ababa; Interregional Standard Gauge Railway lines from Lamu to Isiolo, Isiolo to Juba, Isiolo to Addis Ababa, and Nairobi to Isiolo; 3 International Airports: one each at Lamu, Isiolo, and Lake Turkana; 3 Resort Cities: one each at Lamu, Isiolo, and Lake Turkana; and The multipurpose High Grand Falls Dam along the Tana River.

As the anchor facility of the LAPSSET project and the second commercial port in Lamu, the Lamu Port was commissioned in July 2021. Phase one of the port comprises 17 berths, 3 of which were completed as at December 2022. Upon completion, the port is set to have 32 berths making it the largest deep-water port in Sub-Saharan Africa.

However, the LAPSSET project has been adversely affected by terror attacks in the North Eastern region of Kenya. The works are currently suspended for a period of six weeks from the last incident that took place on January 17 2023.

There have been seven attacks targeting construction workers since December 8 2022, delaying the construction of the 257 km Lamu-Ijara-Garissa section, which is 60% complete. Other affected projects include the 113-kilometer Hindi-Bodhei-Basuba-Kiunga section and the 83-Km Ijara Sangailu-Hulugho section.

Dualling of the Mombasa to Malindi Road
The dualling process is planned in phases due to the length of the road (454 Km). Phase I comprises 120.8km Mkange – Tungumaa – Pangani road section in Tanzania and 54 km Mombasa – Mtwapa– Kilifi road section in Kenya.

Construction works are underway as the government intends to extend the highway to the Tanzanian border to foster regional integration and facilitate trade and movement as part of the East African Community
(EAC) economic region.

The dualling of the 40.4-Km Mtwapa – Kwa Kadzengo – Kilifi Road, whose construction was launched by H.E. President William Ruto on November 19, 2022, is taking shape. On 31st January 2023, Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) reported that the contractor has so far constructed about 7 km of the road around Vipingo area, and the works
are now at 10%.

Cruise Ship Terminal Launch
The Mombasa cruise ship terminal was finally opened after many idle months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The terminal received World Odyssey in November and Nautica in December, carrying 800 and 500 cruise passengers, respectively.

When welcoming Nautica, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza said that at least three more cruise ships are expected to dock at the terminal by the end of March 2023. The government also plans to improve facilities and services, including the diversification of shore excursions to help Mombasa stand out among other African cruise destinations. The government is also upgrading the Moi International Airport in

Nakuru Central Railway Station and Nakuru-Kisumu Meter Gauge Railway (MGR) (217 KM)
On Wednesday, July 27, 2022, H.E. the former president Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned the
revitalized Nakuru-Kisumu Meter Gauge Railway and the refurbished Nakuru Central Railway Station.

Nakuru town started as a railway station on Kenya- Uganda railway line at the turn of 20th century. It was built in 1900 and later expanded in 1957. It sits on the east side of the centre of Nakuru. The railway line links the SGR to the MGR and will be a key transit station for cargo and passenger trains to and from Western Kenya. It will serve as a stopover station for trains headed for Eldoret, Kisumu, Malaba and Kampala. During his visit, he also commissioned the 456Km Longonot – Malaba Segment of the railway.

Konza Technopolis
Konza Technopolis is a 5,000-acres green field land located about 60km East of Nairobi along the Nairobi – Mombasa road. The Silicon Savanna City development is being handled in 3 Phases, with Phase I approximately 400 acres being underway. In November 2022,AAK was hosted by the Konza Technopolis Development Authority on a build tour to assess the progress of the projects.

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