Ruiru to Reap Benefits of Eastern Bypass Expansion ”Capital News


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With just eight months to go before the general election and a new government, it is a race against time for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration to complete critical ongoing projects.

Megaprojects, especially in the transport sector, should cement the legacy Kenyatta wanted. He will further expand the footprint of the infrastructure established by his predecessor, Mwai Kibaki. Among these projects, note the doubling of the eastern ring road.

The official completion date for the 28-kilometer road is November of this year. If the overt build rate is sustained, the target appears to be a realistic shot. It will be a welcome tonic for the many users of the bypass which has, in many ways, surpassed critical projections on user volumes and benefits.

Officially, the main goal of the Eastern Bypass was to create a shorter route to and from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Trafficking east of Nairobi and surrounding areas was the main target. A corollary to this was to decongest Mombasa Road with the benefits of faster traffic to save time wasted in traffic. There were also expectations about ancillary benefits. The main one was a force multiplier for the economic ecosystem along the road and surrounding areas.

The goals dashboard is impressive. Of the four bypasses forming the Nairobi city road loop, the eastern bypass is the most important to justify the link between good roads and the economic growth of the beneficiary areas. A plethora of businesses have sprouted up along the highway. The areas between the intersection with Kangundo Road and Tatu Town have attracted new entertainment clubs, restaurants, hardware stores, schools, churches, gas stations and supermarkets.

The bypass has become a classic victim of its success. Rapid economic growth has prompted more commuting, inevitably leading to the same traffic bottleneck it was meant to address. At peak times of the bypass it can be relatively quicker for a motorist driving from Thika to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to go through Nairobi’s central business district and get to Mombasa Road!

Doubling the eastern ring road is therefore opportune and critical. According to the Kenya Urban Roads Authority, the Ksh12.5b project will see the road extended from four to six lanes depending on location. It will also benefit from lampposts and walkways between the Embakasi barracks and the town of Tatu at the Ruiru-Kiambu road junction.

Businesses served by the ring road and landowners in surrounding areas stand to benefit greatly from the expansion. The transportation of commuters and goods will be faster and arguably cheaper. For traders heavily dependent on transport, the road will be an obvious boon. It will bring a smile to traders of perishable goods or time-limited services where every minute counts. They can expect expedited deliveries at a lower cost.

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Satellite towns such as Ruiru, one of Kenya’s fastest growing population centers, have already established themselves as hotbeds of manufacturing and logistics companies. From now on, it will become an even more attractive place of business. Already, there are more than 60 companies operating in Tatu Industrial Park. Many of these companies depend on JKIA access for freight and freight services. Others get their supplies in Nairobi’s industrial zone, the accessibility of which will be greatly improved by bypassing it.

As a special economic zone that should ideally benefit from greater infrastructural support, the attractiveness of Tatu City and its neighbors as a place of business will certainly increase. The proximity to Nairobi and the links with an extensive road network which is complemented by the relaunch of the Thika-Nanyuki railway make this region a dream location for investors.

The value of land along and around the ring road is also expected to increase exponentially. For previous buyers of the product in this area, the returns on investment have been attractive. What started as a race to the parcels tucked away on the highway has continued for miles inland into adjacent lands. A testament to this growth in value is the obvious construction boom. Several housing projects and impressive residences compete in visibility. Warehouses of various sizes and impressive architecture dot the area.

Key indicators suggest that land values ​​in these areas have not yet peaked. Tatu Industrial Park records, for example, show 25 percent growth last year. This is only Tatu Town’s own infrastructure consisting of paved roads, water sources and a 135 MVA power substation. With the expansion of the ring road, land values ​​will only go one way. Completion of the current doubling is expected to generate further immediate growth of around 15%.

An economic boom is good news. For national and county governments, this means a broadening of the tax base and therefore more revenue to fund more projects. An increase in the number and quality of employment opportunities will also appear. These, in turn, fund higher purchasing power leading to a richer – and taxable – lifestyle!

Growing economies enrich the entire economic chain. More sales lead to larger profits which can be reinvested in superior inputs and processes to produce larger, quality products. A richer, food-secure population means less disease, more disposable income and, at least in theory, less vulnerability to political bickering.

In an election year, a politically conscious electorate would be the cornerstone of ideal good governance and the much-vaunted economic take-off.

The author is the Managing Director of Maven Design & Build Ltd, a Kenya-based construction consultancy company. Email [email protected]

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