Is Nairobi Express way a good idea

I’m excited to write about this coz this was one of my school papers that I enjoyed giving my opinion on. Now that I’m running this blog, I don’t see the reason why not to write about it here. First post this year I’ll be taking suggestions on what you want to be reading.

Allow me to summarize bits about the expressway. The State-backed multi-billion-shilling expressway that is to be developed would ease traffic along Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway, and Waiyaki Way. Construction began in October 2019 and the road is planned to be in operation by June next year.

The expressway will have four-lane and six-lane dual carriageways within the current median of Mombasa Road, Uhuru Highway, and Waiyaki Way, as well as 10 interchanges. The segment from the Eastern and Southern by-passes would be a six-lane dual carriageway, while the section from the Southern Bypass to James Gichuru will be a four-lane dual carriageway.

The purpose of the project is to allow a relatively limited number of personal vehicles to move faster. The highway traffic forecast predicts that approximately 22,000 private motor vehicles will use the facility compared to over 500,000 planned passengers per day on Line 1 BRT. Motorists using the Nairobi Expressway under construction can prepare to pay toll charges as high as Sh1,798 for each journey.          

The worrying issues concerning the project:

  • Road designs and construction plans tend to have little concern for green spaces, yet green spaces are at the center of sustainable development.
  • The project requires a substantial acquisition of land, partially due to the need for large areas for toll plazas. This makes the project costly and will draw on funds that could otherwise be invested in much-needed sustainable transport alternatives for 80% of Nairobi’s walking and cycling residents.
  • The business model of the project promotes the use of private cars. This goes against the best practice in urban mobility of reducing the use of personal motor vehicles. It also goes against attempts to remedy existing inequality and to tackle local air pollution and climate change.

Other long-term impacts of road expansion are increased car travel, increased demand for parking (which is already limited), increased fuel consumption, vehicle exhaust pollution, and road accidents.

Many of these overhead urban highways have proved to attract more cars and lead to changes in adjacent use because of perceived ‘infrastructure improvements’ which results in more congestion. After finding they didn’t help alleviate the congestion of traffic, several cities that had set up overhead highways have finally taken them down.

Will the project have a positive impact on the common man? It would be curious to see how this toll policy works and how the public reacts, as the same thing happened in Johannesburg and the drivers actually refused to pay for what they did not pay for before – which contributed to significant financial difficulties for the national road agency and its ability to do their job.

Now here is the importance of public participation, I came across this tweet and it was a good idea however the main concern about the cycling path under the Expressway will be the security of cyclists. If the spaces won’t be used it will be claimed by the homeless for shelter or hawkers and small shops.

What are your thoughts on the ongoing construction of the Nairobi expressway?

Here are some of your thoughts from my insta stories.

6 thoughts on “Is Nairobi Express way a good idea

  1. Kennedy Mutinda says:

    There are pros and cons for construction of the expressway…but the pros are more for me.
    My opinions:The Government has enacted plans to decongest the CBD already, work that is being done by the NMS, especially by adoption of the BRT…he proposes that money which could have been used to compensate the companies/individuals in reference to the doctrine of eminent domain should have been used to construct walking & cycling paths at the CBD…that is already been done by the NMS
    Secondly, the road is mainly being constructed to ease traffic along Mombasa road…recently the CS said that the country loses millions of shillings in fuel and wasted time and thus the expressway will trynna ease that, those millions of shillings which will accrue over a period of time will be used to enhance development elsewhere and thus boosting the Country’s economy…
    Thirdly, the country’s population has been growing, & especially Nairobi’s population, growth of population will mean that there is an increase in acquisition of cars…roads will have to be constructed to accomodate the increase in acquisition of cars, and thus it only makes sense to construct an expressway, which is being constructed ‘above’ the already existing Mombasa road, instead of finding other alternative routes to access the CBD by the growing population….it’s for the common good and a long term solution for a growth in population and the economy at large, just like Thika road.
    The issue of climate change….
    State parties to various conventions and treaties have adopted plans to reduce the impact of climate change and one of the ways is…reducing the use of fuel e.g manufacturing of electric motor vehicles…so let’s say in 20-30yrs time most people will be using electric cars, right?..
    Still, there will be increase in acquisition of cars, so what roads are they going to use?…the expressway will be one of them,but ofcourse…it makes sense to expand the road network for a common and good future,
    cars will not be using fuel for a long period of time….
    In short, the issue of climate change has been subject to debate and it’s not been neglected whatsoever..
    I quote, ‘human societies must live and meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their NEEDS’…
    The expressway will be used by not only us, but also the future generation which will be using electric cars

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment. I agree with you , but the pros here are way more than cons. First, adding roads and lanes has never and will never solve traffic congestion. It has always generated more traffic as people will be encouraged to buy more cars. Clearly the expressway isn’t being built with common man in mind, it’s definitely a rich people road.


      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah sure.. Adding roads doesn’t solve traffic.. They should come up with other alternative mode of transportation.. Iike the commuter train


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