September 13— A $2 billion financing package is being put together from American and British sources to pay for Kenya’s proposed high-speed expressway between Nairobi and Mombasa, with construction scheduled to start next year the Kenya National Highways Authority confirmed this week.
Bechtel, the largest construction and civil engineering company in the United States, was given the contract. “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,” Craig Albert, the President of Bechtel’s global infrastructure business said in a recent statement.
He said, “We will bring global mega-project 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.”
This will be the first long stretch of high-speed expressway in Kenya and will connect the capital, Nairobi, with the country’s main port, Mombasa. The project for the 473 kilometre connection is being supported with financing from US and UK sources. Once the new route is open to traffic, journeys between Nairobi will take just four hours by road, instead of 10 at present.
“This contract shows continued international investor confidence in the Kenyan economy. Bechtel has more than 70 years’ experience building and project managing infrastructure projects in Africa and we are delighted to be working with the Government of Kenya to deliver this important expressway,” Amjad Bangash, general manager for infrastructure – Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Bechtel said.
According to Bechtel, which has annual revenues of over $30 billion, the expressway will have four lanes and 19 interchanges. It 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.