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Road development and maintenance: A delicate balancing act

Kenyan's will have to pay between $14 and $70 to use the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit road, the Business Daily has reported, thus makes it one of the most expensive highways to travel on – in the world.


According to the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), high capacity vehicles will pay approximately $0.29 cents per kilometre, while sedans will pay $0.06 cents per kilometre across the 243km highway.


A one way journey will thus cost in the region of $70 - increasing the cost of doing business and putting pressure on the prices of goods and services according to local newspapers.

Peter Mundinia, director general of KeNHA says this is one of many roads which will be subjected to tolls, revealing that the expressway from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Westlands (a journey of approximately 18.586 kilometres), will cost between $1 and $5.40.


“Many other roads will be put on tolling regime" Mundinia said.


An artist's impression of the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit expressway

"The first in line and whose procurement has progressed well are Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau summit Expressway and Nairobi Expressway (JKIA to James Gichuru Road). Others will come after evaluating the success of the above two,” said Mr Mundinia.


Location of tolling stations

According to reports, KeNHA has identified four provisional tolling stations: one after the Rironi interchange, a second one on A8 South (along Naivasha-Mai Mahiu), the third at the Gilgil weighbridge and the last one at Salgaa.


The JKIA-Westlands expressway will have about 10 interchanges based on the project design and it is believed that it may have a similar number of toll stations.


Kenyan's currently pay $0.174 cents per kilometre fuel levy.


Both highways will be constructed under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements and construction of the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit highway has already started. Construction is being undertaken by the Rift Valley Connect consortium, made up of VINCI Highways SAS, Meridian Infrastructure Africa Fund (MIAF) and VINCI Concessions SAS, at an anticipated cost of $1,742 billion.


The JKIA-Westlands expressway will cost $484 million, but construction is yet to start as the government seeks a funding partner under the PPP arrangement.


Benefits

The two expressways will drastically reduce the time taken by motorists from JKIA to Westlands and transit lorries moving goods from the Port of Mombasa to neighbouring countries.


Yet, the high toll fees means that Kenya will have some of the most expensive roads in world.

Mundinia indicated that the tolling highways will no longer receive allocations from the fuel maintenance levy kitty and that the funds received would be used to invest in the PPP pacts, maintenance of major arteries and expansion of the road network countrywide.


Tolling fund

A special Tolling Fund will be used to finance maintenance of the highways and repayment of other roads built by private contractors but fail to generate enough funds to re-pay investors due to low number of users.


Toll fees were first introduced in Kenya in the late 1980s but were scrapped in the mid-90s in favour of the roads maintenance levy. However, government has said that funds raised through the fuel levy have not been enough to maintain the country’s roads, leading to the re-introduction of toll fees.


Munindia said that who do not wish to use the toll highways can still rely on other roads connecting the towns to the capital but will have to cope with heavy congestion on those roads.


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