The upgrading of Nairobi’s Outer Ring Road into a dual carriageway by China’s Sinohydro Corporation is set to revolutionize urban transport and unleash new economic benefits in densely populated sections of the Kenyan capital, an official said on Friday.
Silas Kinoti, the Acting Director General of Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA), said in a commentary published by the Standard daily the 13-kilometer dual carriageway will ease traffic congestion and stimulate investments in Nairobi’s Eastlands region where majority of low income people reside.
“Outer Ring Road is expected to improve accessibility to the Eastlands area, reduce travel time for commuters and increase property value besides boosting the general business environment for informal traders,” said Kinoti.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) funded the upgrading of Outer Ring Road into a four lane dual carriageway to the tune of 80 million U.S. dollars.
Kinoti said the China-built dual carriageway and other major urban infrastructure projects like Thika superhighway and bypasses will elevate Nairobi’s status as a regional transport and trade logistics hub.
He added that an upgraded Outer Ring Road will offer durable solution to traffic gridlock in Nairobi’s low income and industrial heartland, reduce air pollution and boost workers’ productivity.
“It is estimated that by improving the existing road, the annual vehicular green house gas emission rates would drop by at least 70 percent due to improved average traffic operating speeds along the project corridor particularly with the integration of the Bus Rapid Transit System as envisioned by the year 2022,” said Kinoti.
He noted that construction of non-motorized walkways, cycle tracks and relocation of informal traders along the dual carriageway to designated markets will enhance movement of vehicles and pedestrians.
The upgrading of Outer Ring Road has created new jobs for the youth while improving their mastery of diverse technical skills like masonry, plumbing and welding.
Kinoti said that investments in retail and manufacturing sectors that will accompany the launch of an upgraded Outer Ring road will unleash new job opportunities for youth in Nairobi’s low income settlements.