Residents of Nairobi’s Eastlands will have an easier time accessing the city centre once a road expansion project launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday is completed.
The Sh13 billion initiative will see Outer Ring Road converted into a six-lane highway with interchanges and over-passes as well as the construction of 10 Eastern missing links.
Of the total, Sh8.5 billion will go towards expansion of the 13-kilometre Outer Ring Road while the rest will finance setting up of the missing links covering about 16 kilometres.
The two projects are funded by the African Development Bank and the European Union in partnership with the government.
Outer Ring Road is designed to incorporate a nine-metre Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor at a later stage.
The roads will also have footpaths and cycle lanes. The project is estimated to be completed in 36 months.
At the launch on Thursday, President Kenyatta ordered implementing agencies to make sure that the work is completed within the set time-frame without compromising quality.
“The contractors must stick to the time-frame and give first priority to the local youths while hiring workers,” President Kenyatta said.
But it will no longer be business as usual for thousands of traders operating along the busy road.
Most car washes will be closed while restaurants and petrol stations will be left without parking. Thriving hawkers will be rendered homeless.
WILL BE AFFECTED
Lexx Hotel is among one of the businesses that will be affected. A parking lot used by patrons will be a highway in a few months.
“Our biggest problem will be parking and the highway, once completed will be right outside our doorstep. We are not very sure if we will have access roads to the hotel and we will figure out the adjustments when we see the outcome of the road,” said the hotel director who sought anonymity.
Samuel Kyalo who co-owns a car-wash with a few friends along the road expressed concerns that tens of workers would be rendered jobless.
“Business is booming right now but we do not know where we will move next. Thika Super highway and Baba Dogo are our closest options, but they are all full of car washes,” Kyalo said.
Anthony Matu’s Quick Auto Garage falls in the middle of the planned road with 14 mechanics working for him. In a few weeks, Mr Matu and his employees will be packing up.