The first of the many in the Vision 2030 Flagship
President Mwai Kibaki officially commissioned the opening of the 31 billion-shilling Nairobi – Thika Superhighway on Friday.
Construction of the 50km superhighway kicked off in January 2009 in a move geared at decongesting traffic to Nairobi City by expanding Thika Road from a four-lane carriageway to an eight-lane highway. The superhighway also saw the construction of underpasses, footbridges, and provision of interchanges at roundabouts.
Kibaki has urged Kenyans to abide to the Highway Code and the community living around the highway to protect the national pride; while security agencies have been ordered to deal with those vandalizing.
The highway has attracted many investors with those in the real estate seeking to take advantage of the high demand for housing that has escalated along the highway.
In attendance included the Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Minister of Roads Franklin Bett, the AfDB President Dr. Donald Kaberuka and China’s Ambassador to Kenya Liu Guangyuan.
The road was initially budgeted to cost Sh 28billion in 2009 but by the time it was being officially commissioned on Friday the cost had shot up to Sh 31billion mainly due to changes in exchange rates and cost overruns.
The construction of the highway, was funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Government of Kenya and the EXIM Bank of China.
Maintenance of the Superhighway
Focus now turns to the maintenance of the highway, in which the government seeks to use private sector participation. The Ministry of Roads has also proposed the imposition of toll rates for users of the road to raise funds for its maintenance.
The President has also pointed out that the construction of the Dongo Kundu By-Pass in Mombasa will start next year at a tune of Sh 35Billion.