Over 11,000 vehicles already registered to use Chinese-built Nairobi Expressway

An aerial view of runners taking part in the Nairobi marathon as they run along the new expressway that was flagged off by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, as an inaugural annual event in Nairobi on May 8, 2022. Set to be opened to the public from May 14, the 26.9 kilometre (16.7 mile) highway that cuts through the Central Business District connecting Nairobi's main airport Jomo Kenyatta International to Westlands area where it lets out onto the main highway leading to Kenya's Rift Valley, the expressway has been mired in controversy regarding it's procurement and actual costing as it has generated excitement among traffic-jam weary Nairobians'. Tony KARUMBA / AFP
An aerial view of runners taking part in the inaugural Nairobi marathon as they run along the new expressway as an inaugural annual event in Nairobi on May 8, 2022. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced after the marathon that the Expressway would be opened for use on a trial basis starting May 14, 2022. (Photo by Tony KARUMBA / AFP)

More than 11,000 vehicles have already been registered to use the Chinese-built Nairobi Expressway which was opened to the public on a trial basis on Saturday.

Motorists seeking to have a driving experience on the eight-lane elevated dual carriageway trooped to the road early full of excitement.

Transport minister James Macharia was present to witness the start of operations on the road, which is expected to be officially opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta later this month.

The 27.1-kilometer elevated road links Kenya’s main airport, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, in the eastern side of the capital to the Nairobi-Nakuru highway in the west.

The Nairobi Expressway has been financed and constructed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), and the Chinese firm will operate the highway under a public-private partnership.

Motorists intending to use the road are required to pay in cash, or use Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) and Manual Toll Collection (MTC) cards.

A toll station at K7, a section of the Nairobi Expressway Project along the Mombasa road. (Photo by Boniface Muthoni/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The elevated dual carriageway has been hailed as a big solution to Nairobi’s traffic menace. The Kenyan capital has struggled with traffic gridlocks for years, with motorists often spending many hours on the roads each day.

By using the Nairobi Expressway, motorists are expected to cut down time spent in traffic from 3 hours to around 20 minutes.

The Expressway is one of many Chinese-built infrastructural projects in Kenya.

Other notable projects include a 480-kilometer Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) linking the port city of Mombasa to Nairobi, and an ongoing construction of the Ksh 40 billion offshore Kipevu Oil Terminal, the largest of its kind in Africa.

The success of Chinese projects in Kenya has been received with high praise in the country, as it seeks to make bigger strides in its development agenda.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, while inspecting the progress of construction of the Expressway in December, affirmed Kenya’s commitment to continue working with the Chinese Government which he said continues to be Kenya’s key development partner.

“Our partnership with China is one that is mutually beneficial, that is based on win-win, and we are very grateful to the Chinese Government and people for the support that they continue to render not only our country but to the rest of Africa,” he said at the time.

($1 = Ksh 116.20)