Plans are moving forward with regard to the upgrade work to the highway connecting Kenya’s capital Nairobi with the port of Mombasa. In all the project will stretch for some 485km and cost around US$2.2 billion, with the work involving upgrading the route to a dual carriageway along its entire length. Funding is expected to come from international sources, including the US Exim Banks and the African Development Bank. The route will be tolled, with a 25 year pay-back period being anticipated. Construction work will start first on the 42km section between Mombasa and Mariakani. Several bridges will be built along the route.
The project is needed as the existing road has just one lane in either direction and suffers badly from congestion. The road carries a high percentage of heavy trucks travelling to and from the port of Mombasa and the route also has a poor reputation for safety due to a large number of dangerous overtakes. In April of this year alone there were two separate head-on collisions within the space of a few days, resulting in the loss of 27 lives in one crash and eight in the other.
The upgraded route will provide an important link through to Uganda as well as Rwanda and Burundi when it is complete. These landlocked countries will benefit economically from a dual carriageway connection to the port of Mombasa.