Date: 13 May 2017 12:51
The government is in the process of asking China for more money to expand the eastern and northern bypasses into dual highways, as part of a programme to decongest Nairobi City.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told journalists in Beijing that the two roads are no longer able to handle traffic, just three years after they were completed to provide alternative routes for motorists.
"Part of the problem we have today is a result of our own success. If you look at our situation today, we have more vehicles than we should have. If you look at these roads today, they are clogged," he argued.
The two bypasses, which cost about Sh8.5 billion, were constructed between 2009 and 2014.
The Northern bypass runs from Ruaraka to Ruiru while the Eastern one runs from Mombasa Road through Cabanas, Pipeline, Njiru and Thika Road onwards.
But three years after completion, the government now admits that the bypasses are not moving traffic as fast as anticipated.
"After we get commitments on funding, we will be able to quantify the cost. But if you see the condition of those roads now, the benefits will be much more," the CS said at a press briefing.
The Southern Bypass, opened in 2015, runs from Kikuyu to Mombasa Road, through Ngong Road and Lang'ata Road.
Attending the Belt and Road Forum with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Macharia said the Kenya government is also meeting with Chinese officials to discuss "decongesting Nairobi", a programme meant to introduce light rail, commuter transport system and bypasses.
The Forum is a platform by the Chinese to expand global trade and their influence by following the historic silk road pattern, which would have reached 60 of today's countries.
Beijing has pumped at least $463 million (S47bn) in Kenya for several years and critics worry the piling debt is not healthy for the country.