Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development CS James Macharia has disclosed how the Nairobi Express Way idea was mooted.
In an interview on Citizen TV, the CS noted that the idea came up during a dinner meeting between CSs and Chinese Company officials.
CS Macharia stated that the CSs were in the Asian country to discuss the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) but somehow found themselves sunk in the Expressway conversation.
“It was back in 2019 and we had been sent to China to finalize on issues to do with SGR. We arrived in the Beijing Airport, then proceeded to Beijing City where we took about 25 minutes, a very long distance because the highway had 6 lanes,” CS Macharia recalled.
The CS noted that during the meeting, they commended the status of the highway only to be informed that the company they were meeting was the one that constructed the highway.
“They told us the road is on their balance sheet, it is their road; the same company which we had gone to see for the SGR,” Macharia said.
CS Macharia said they ended up entering a deal with the company after expressing interest in having a similar road in Nairobi.
“They said they had been to Nairobi whereby the president of the same company had been stuck in a traffic jam for two and half hours from JKIA to Nairobi CBD,” said the CS.
“So it did not require a lot of convincing for him to know we have a problem in terms of traffic and that the problem can be converted into an opportunity.”
CS Macharia also revealed how President Uhuru Kenyatta reacted to the idea after informing him via a phone call.
“The president was actually quite excited about the idea and the same night he called the Finance CS Rotich and asked him to join us in China so that we could discuss the finance modalities of how the PPP could be done,” Macharia noted.
The government settled into an agreement with the company and the construction of mega-project commenced.