After recently opening up its Nairobi Regional Office, Bechtel International Inc, one of the most respected global engineering, construction, and project management companies, is already hitting the spotlight, after being selected by the Kenyan National Highways Authority (KeNHA) to build Kenya’s first high-speed expressway at a cost of Sh230 billion. The expressway is going to link the port city of Mombasa to the capital city, Nairobi.
The 473-kilometre expressway is expected to improve the efficiency, connectivity and safety of road transport between Nairobi and the main seaport of the country. This is expected to reduce the journey time between the two cities from ten hours to four.
The project in conjunction with the recent Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is going to help promote trade and development in the country. In addition, the road will also improve trade to other regions which are landlocked; Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
Craig Albert, president of Bechtel’s global infrastructure business said, “Bechtel has been working with the Government of Kenya for over two years to develop this strategic infrastructure priority project, which will support unlocking significant growth in Kenya and the region.”
The expressway, which will be the new mega project in the east African community, is expected to be a toll road that will have 4 lanes and 19 interchanges. Additionally, according to the KeNHA Director General Peter Mundinia the 4-lane highway will be constructed with provisions that will allow for a future increase to six lanes. Bechtel has also promised to employ 4,000 people and provide them with training.
“We will bring global megaproject capability and local commitment to deliver the Nairobi-Mombasa expressway to our high standards of quality, safety and sustainability. We’ll create infrastructure and skills legacies by partnering with local companies, suppliers, and directly employing and training Kenyans,” added Craig Albert.
The construction of the expressway is expected to start by 2018 with the first phase, which is from Mombasa Road – Kyumvi to ICT Konza, expected to be open in 2019. The mega project is going to get additional financial support from various international agencies including the US EXIM Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the UK Export Finance.