Nairobi-Thika highway users brace for toll

Posted on 01 September 2012 by Steve Mbogo in The East African

The Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) is planning to call for proposals in November from interested concessionaires to manage the newly completed Nairobi-Thika Highway. The authority proposes the concession to run for between 20 and 30 years.

The awarding of the contract is planned for May 2013, and the toll operation is expected to start in January 2014, with the aim of raising $388 million. While the management and operation of the highway would ideally be the responsibility of the Ministry of Roads, the government has opted for a toll to service the over $300 million loans from the Africa Development Bank and China Exim Bank used in the construction of the highway.

The proposal is for motorists to pay a minimum fee of Ksh1.20 ($10 cents) per kilometre for passenger vehicles, Ksh1.79 ($2 cents) for commuter taxi and Ksh3.59 ($4 cents) for multi axle vehicles.

The tender, Roads Ministry officials said, will be awarded in January 2014 with the aim of raising the money used to construct the road.

However, Kenha officials did not confirm whether the proposed plan will be followed. The authority held meetings last week to discuss the matter, but officials said it was still early to divulge details.

The EastAfrican, however, has learnt that unspecified number of companies have already made proposals to the government for the management of the 50.4 kilometre highway, one of the most modern highways in East and Central Africa.

Among the companies that have submitted proposals is a consortium of Indian and Kenyan companies, Consulting Engineering Services of India and APEC Consortium Ltd of Kenya.

The two companies are currently handling engineering consulting services on Nairobi-Thika Highway.

The proposals include a feasibility study on establishing a mass transit system on the highway as it is able to accommodate a rail network for commuter train.

The winner will also set up a Highway Control Centre that will have cranes, ambulances with paramedical services, highway patrol vehicles and establish a highway telecommunication system.

The toll station and the highway management centre will be located in Juja, the Kenha document proposes. Income from the toll is expected to increase gradually  as the number of vehicles using the highway is expected to increase from the current 30,000 vehicles to 54,000 in 2031.

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