Two months after opening its Nairobi Regional Office, America’s Largest Construction Firm Bechtel International Inc. has been selected by the Kenyan National Highways Authority to build the country’s first high-speed expressway at a cost of Sh230 billion.
The construction of the 473-kilometre (Nairobi-Mombasa) high-speed expressway will vastly improve the connectivity, efficiency and safety of road transport between Nairobi and the country’s main sea port, Mombasa, and will reduce the journey time from over 10 hours to under four hours. The highway will allow uninterrupted speeds of 120 kilometre per hour.
The expressway will serve as a central part of Kenya’s national transport system, helping to promote trade and development in Kenya and further into landlocked Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. This project will complement the new Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to transform the 280-mile (450-kilometer) Nairobi-Mombasa corridor into a vibrant and continuous economic zone.
“Bechtel has been working with the Government of Kenya for over two years to develop this strategic infrastructure priority project, which will support unlocking significant growth in Kenya and the region,” said Craig Albert, president of Bechtel’s global infrastructure business. “We will bring global megaproject capability and local commitment to deliver the Nairobi-Mombasa expressway to our high standards of quality, safety and sustainability. We’ll create infrastructure and skills legacies by partnering with local companies, suppliers, and directly employing and training Kenyans.”
The high-speed expressway will be one of the most important new pieces of infrastructure in the East African Community. It will have four lanes and 19 interchanges. The expressway will become a toll road and will provide a faster transit to support growth and industry. As part of the delivery of the project, Bechtel will employ over 4,000 people and provide training and capacity building. The project will also include master planning for three special economic zones along the alignment, and will be focused on developing business in coordination with the new SGR and local communities.
The project has been structured to achieve early completion, under a fast-track delivery model, with concurrent design and construction, and with the first section, from Mombasa Road – Kyumvi to ICT Konza, targeted to open in 2019.
The construction will start 2018 while the US and UK export credit agencies such as the US Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and UK Export Finance will provide financing support.
Bechtel is a global leader in designing and constructing motorways. The company has completed more than 17,000 miles (28,000 kilometers) of highways and roads, 100 tunnels totaling some 220 miles (about 350 kilometers) in length, and 25 major bridge projects.