Thousands of traders operating on Outer Ring Road in Nairobi’s Eastlands are staring at eviction as expansion of the road begins this week.
By design, the Sh8.5 billion project involves creation of two-lane passages on each side of the road as well as a 9-metre Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor to be incorporated at a later stage.
Among the most affected are thousands of small-scale traders running kiosks on the busy road.
A number of petrol stations, garages, furniture shops, commercial and residential buildings along the route that connects the Eastern bypass to Thika superhighway will have to pave way for the road.
The project, initially meant to start in October last year, is expected to take 36 months. Dualling of the 13-kilometre stretch will be launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday.
African Development Bank is the main financier for the project, with 88.5 per cent of the funds coming from the regional lender, while the rest is government-sourced.
A contract between Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) and SinoHydro Corporation, which won the tender, was signed in August, 2014.
Kura Chief Corporate Communications Officer John Cheboi confirmed the planned launch that is expected to start from the Ruaraka section.
“Outer Ring dualling project is set to be launched on Thursday, to be precise, and President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to launch the project. This will definitely change transport dynamics in Nairobi’s Eastlands going forward,” Mr Cheboi told the Nation in a telephone interview.
The stretch beginning at the Eastern bypass junction at Taj Mall up to Thika Road junction at GSU headquarters will be dualled (two lanes in each direction).
A number of service roads, six grade separated junctions and 10 foot bridges are expected on the stretch.
The road will also have footpaths and cycle tracks on either side and four subways for safety of pedestrians. The project is scheduled to take three years to complete.
Motorists using the road are expected to use 12-kilometre deviation roads that are also planned to be improved for use during construction.
Among those earmarked for upgrading are; Thika superhighway-Mathare North-Juja road; Mutarakwa-Komarock Road; Embakasi Barracks-Kangundo Road and Eastern Bypass-Outer Ring Road.
The initiative is one of the Vision 2030 flagship projects expected to improve transport infrastructure in major towns. Kura says that the development will bring more benefits than just improving transport in the area.