Nairobi-Mombasa Expressway Won’t Affect SGR, CS Murkomen Assures

May 27, 2024

Roads and Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen has stated that the construction of a six-lane Nairobi-Mombasa expressway will complement rather than disrupt Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) operations.

The 440-kilometer toll road, dubbed Usahihi Expressway, is expected to cut travel time between Kenya’s capital to the coastal city from 10.5 hours to 4.5 hours.

CS Murkomen explained that the expressway will enhance the Northern Corridor’s competitiveness by working alongside existing infrastructure. He reassured that the SGR will not lose cargo to road transport once the expressway is operational.

“I am the CS of both roads and rail [and can assure you] the government has no intention of prioritising one over the other,” said the CS.

Murkomen added that extending the SGR, along with constructing the Mombasa-Nairobi Expressway and later the Rironi-Mau Summit Expressway, will make the Northern Corridor an attractive option for many businesses in East and Central Africa.

“We shall ensure rail and road provide seamless flow of cargo from the port of Mombasa to other parts of the region,” said Murkomen during the launch of the Kenya Railways Strategic Plan 2023-2027.

“We are challenging Kenya Railways to improve its services to attract more users so as to attain its vision. The government will not favour any mode of transport by issuing mandatory use of rail edicts to increase its volumes.”

Murkomen’s remarks follow a Kes.472.9 billion financing deal with Everstron Capital LLC for the expressway, which will operate under a 30-year Public-Private Partnership. The Usahihi Expressway will be built in 3-4 years.

“The road, dubbed ‘Usahihi’, is expected to have four to six lanes and will be constructed over the next 3-4 years.

“Usahihi will pay its way, not burdening the government as it is structured as a Public-Private Partnership with revenue coming from road users. Usahihi will organise finance, construction, tolling, operation, and maintenance of the expressway under a 30-year concession with construction lasting 3-4 years,” a press release announcing the deal indicated.

Additionally, the government plans to extend the SGR from Naivasha to Uganda, boosting the Northern Transport Corridor’s competitiveness.

“To this end, we will collaborate with the Interstate Ministerial Committee on the SGR Cluster to explore viable financial options to ensure that SGR extends from Malaba through Kasese in Uganda and finally Kisangani, in the DR Congo, to boost regional trade,” CS Murkomen said.

The Kenya Railways Strategic Plan 2023-2027 outlines goals to develop rail infrastructure, expand freight and passenger transport, and foster a skilled workforce while adhering to Environmental, Social, and Governance standards.

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