The African Development Bank is set to increase funding for infrastructure projects in the country even as one of its flagship projects — the Nairobi-Thika superhighway — nears completion.
This year, it is funding the implementation of at least 25 projects to the tune of $1.5 billion (Sh154 billion) in various sectors including agriculture, environment, energy, water and sanitation.
The bank’s country representative, Mr Jeremiah Mutonga, says this is a significant increase in the number of projects they were helping fund in 2006.
“At the time, we only had 14 projects in our portfolio worth at least $450 million ($46 billion). The figure has significantly risen to 25 over the years and next year things are looking up,” he told journalists in Nairobi after a tour of the superhighway last week in the company of Kenya National Highway Authority (Kenha) officials.
“In the next three years, we have agreed that we shall scale up our funding, especially in the energy and roads sectors, to the tune of $500 million (Sh52 billion). We want to grow with Kenya,” he adds.
The bank is Kenya’s leading development partner in the roads sector.
Statistics indicate that the bank has committed $639 million (Sh66 billion) to improve the road infrastructure in the country.
This is followed by the water and sanitation sector ($274 million — Sh28 billion) and Energy ($200 million — Sh21 billion).
Some of the projects the bank is already helping to finance include the Arusha-Namanga-Athi River Road project, phase one and two of the Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis Ababa road corridor and the Timboroa-Eldoret road rehabilitation project.
But of immediate concern to most Nairobi residents is the eight-lane superhighway, which is set for completion by March next year, even though officials from the Kenha say most of the 45-km road will be motorable by December this year.
The bank funded the project with a financial package through its concessional window, the African Development Fund, including a loan of $180 million (Sh19 billion) for civil works and consultancy services as well as the feasibility and detail designs of a mass rapid transit system for the Nairobi metropolis.
The Kenya Government on its part contributed $80 million (Sh8 billion) to the project. The Chinese Government is also funding it.
The road project, which started in April 2009, involved the changing of the road from a four to eight lane superhighway.
Work on the superhighway was split into three sections — Uhuru Highway to Muthaiga roundabout, then to Kenyatta University on to Thika town.
“The section from Uhuru Highway to Muthaiga roundabout will be completed by February next year, even though the flyover across Globe Cinema roundabout will be in operation by the end of this year,” says Mr Meshack Kidenda, Kenha’s director-genaral.
“The second 14-km stretch from the Muthaiga roundabout to Kenyatta University will be completed by the end of October. Much of the road is already in operation and we have now completed some 12km,” he adds.
“The rest of the road from Kenyatta University to Thika will be substantially completed by December this year. We can therefore say that the entire road will be completed by March next year.”
On Muthaiga roundabout- Uhuru Highway section, the construction works involved the expansion of University Way to eight lanes from six, provision of a four-lane flyover across Globe Cinema roundabout, expansion of Murang’a Road to six lanes, construction of an underpass at Pangani flyover on the Muthaiga roundabout, among others.
On the Muthaiga roundabout-Kenyatta University section, works involved the construction of the carriage ways to eight lanes, construction of underpasses at Kahawa estate and Kenyatta University, provision of an interchange at the General Service Unit roundabout, among others.
Works on Kenyatta University-Thika stretch included the expansion of the carriage way to six lanes up to Juja, the construction of a six-lane flyover at the Eastern bypass, underpass at Ruiru Sports Club and at Mangu High School as well as provision of footpaths.
Mr Kidenda also reveals that they had spent close to Sh3 billion to acquire property and land to enable the project.
The road is part of the classified international trunk road A2.