Monday, 25 April 2011

Nairobi toll road cancelled because of concessionaire

According to the Daily Nation of Kenya, the Nairobi Urban Toll Road project has been suspended because the World Bank is refusing funding.  The reason for the refusal is because the winning concessionaire -  the Austrian based Strabag Group - has apparently failed the bank's "compliance procedures".    As a result, the Kenyan government will have to commence negotiations with a new group, or seek alternative sources of financing.  The government is committed to the project, and the World Bank website (PDF) explains the justification for the project as follows:

There has not been any major road infrastructure improvement in the Nairobi area for over two decades and the basic network is still the one designed in the 1970s. The results are massive congestion soon expected to cause complete gridlock given the anticipated traffic growth. Decongestion of this main artery NC that passes through the middle of town and development of new infrastructure surrounding Nairobi is therefore paramount...Feasibility studies carried out under the NCTIP confirmed the viability of a toll road concession for a stretch of 77 km along the Uhuru Highway including the construction of a 29 km bypass.

The concerns are around meeting social and environmental conditions, particularly around land acquisition.  Business Daily Africa reports:

The project is the centre of a dispute between the government and property owners over intended demolition of buildings valued at billions of shillings while an alternative road can be designed to pass through a less built-up area.
 

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