List Of Bypasses In Nairobi, Cost And Chinese Contractors Who Were Awarded The Projects

By Isaac Blessings

The Jubilee government has scored an A in as far as infrastructure is concerned. The Uhuru led regime has been quick to focus on building roads, flyovers and bridges to ease traffic and movement around the city. One notable project is the fascinating Nairobi Ring Roads Master plan which consists of different bypasses in Nairobi. In this article we take a look at the list of the bypasses, the cost and contractors who built them.

Northern Bypass

The Northern bypass single carriage was started in 2009 and completed in 2014. It is a 31 km road that starts from Ruaka passes through Runda estate and then Kahawa West before reaching Ruiru where it finally joins the Eastern Bypass. According to the Kenya Highways Authority (KeNHA), this bypass will be vital in helping to reduce the number of vehicles passing through the City centre just to get to the other side of Nairobi. Since its inception, it has become very popular especially for motorists seeking to avoid the crazy traffic congestion in the Central Business District. Due to its popularity the government of Kenya commenced a project to upgrade the road into a dual carriage in 2017.

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Contractors and cost

Single Carriage

The initial first single carriage was constructed by the China Roads and Bridges Company. Both the Northern and Eastern bypass were expected to cost a whooping 8.5 billion although the projects overpassed the budget with an undisclosed percentage due to land acquisition costs. The Kenyan government was to pay 15% of the money (Ksh 1.2 billion) while the Chinese government was to fund the remaining 85% which amounts to around 7.3 billion shillings.

Dual Carriage

In 2018, the Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said that they had reached an agreement with China for the upgrading of the Northern Bypass. The dual carriage is being undertaken by a Chinese State-owned firm known as Sinohydro Limited. The project includes construction of flyovers, bridges and interchanges and is expected to be complete by January 2022. The Kenyan government recently acquired a 2 billion loan from an undisclosed financier that is expected to pay part of the 30 billion required for both the Eastern and Northern bypass upgrading. The loan Signed on September 28, 2021 is yet to be released to the Central Bank of Kenya.

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Eastern Bypass

The Eastern Bypass was designed by former President Mwai Kibaki-government as part of Kenya’s Vision 2030 infrastructure projects aimed at making Kenya a regional commercial hub. The bypass is a 39 km road beginning on the Ruiru- Kiambu Road, crosses the Northern bypass into Thika Road and then crosses Kamiti, Kangundo Road before proceeding to Mombasa Road via Embakasi Garrison and the North Airport Road. The project was among the 11 mega projects showcased by Kenya to investors during the Belt and Road forum that happened in Beijing, China in May 2017.

Contractors and Cost

Single Carriage

The single lane carriageway was constructed by the China Roads and Bridges Company. The project which was done concurrently with the Northern bypass was estimated to cost the taxpayer 8.5 billion but the numbers passed the budget with an undisclosed percentage. The original agreement was for the Kenyan government to pay 1.2 billion while the Chinese government to fund the remaining 7.3 billion.

Dual Carriage

The upgrading of the Eastern bypass into a dual carriageway is being done by the Chinese state-owned firm – Sinohydro Limited. The company signed the commercial agreement in January 2018 to expand both the Eastern and Northern bypass at a cost of 30 billion shillings. The bypass is expected to be complete by January 2022.

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Southern Bypass

The Southern bypass is a 28.6 km dual carriage road that begins at the Mombasa road near ParkSide Towers and passes via the edge of Nairobi National Park, Langata South Estate, and Ngong Road before proceeding to Gitara and finally joins Nairobi-Nakuru Highway. The project included construction of bridges, interchanges, 12 km slip roads and an extra 8.5 km service roads. The road is aimed to reduce the insane traffic along Mombasa road and congestion in the Central Business District by providing an alternative route for vehicles and trailers going to Western region, Rift Valley or Uganda. The project was completed and launched in 2016.

Contractors and cost

The bypass was constructed by China Road and Bridges Company (CRBC). The project cost the taxpayer 17.1 billion with 85 percent of the money being funded by China’s EXIM Bank and the remaining 15 percent to be catered for by the Kenyan government.

Western Bypass

The Western bypass is the fourth and final bypass in the Nairobi Ring Road Network Master plan. The bypass starts in Gitaru through Wangige and Ndenderu before joining the northern bypass at Ruaka. The project involves construction of a 15.3 km dual carriageway, 17.3 km of service roads, seven interchanges at Gitaru, Lower Kabete, Wangige, Kihara, Ndenderu, Rumenye and Ruaka as well as construction of 10 overpasses and 5 underpasses. Moreover, pedestrian barriers, storm water drainage systems and box culverts will also be installed. 

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Motorists coming from Thika sides will come through Muthaiga, through Red Hill then join the bypass at Ruaka and go towards the west without having to pass through the Central Business District. The project is almost complete and is expected to be launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in January 2022.

Construction and cost

The project was awarded to the China Roads and Bridges Company (CRBC). It is going to cost the taxpayer 17.1 billion Kenyan shillings with 75 percent being funded by China EXIM Bank and 15 percent by the Kenyan government.