NAIROBI, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- The 27.1 km Nairobi Expressway, built by a Chinese firm under a public-private partnership model on Tuesday honored ten million motorists who have used it since its official launch in July 2022.
Senior officials, executives and ordinary motorists graced the occasion to mark the ten million users' milestone on the modern thoroughfare that has eased movement from the southern tip of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi where the main airport is located, to the upmarket Westlands district.
Joseph Mbugua, the Principal Secretary for Roads termed the Nairobi Expressway an iconic infrastructure project that has enhanced the seamless movement of people and cargo, positioning the country as a commercial and logistics hub.
"The Expressway has introduced efficiencies in the intermodal logistics within Nairobi and the wider East African region while improving supply chain logistics for the business operators," Mbugua said.
He added that courtesy of Nairobi Expressway, conference tourism has regained luster adding that its linkage with the main airport, the Chinese-built Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and a host of ring roads within the capital has improved the country's overall economic productivity.
The Nairobi Expressway is a Class A highway with a four-lane dual carriageway that extends to six lanes in some sections while the thoroughfare has 15 entrances and 14 exits to guarantee motorists a seamless movement to various destinations.
Construction of the Nairobi Expressway by China Road and Bridge Corporation commenced in September 2020 and its use on a trial basis started in May 2022, paving way for its official launch by the then Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta on July 31, 2022.
The Expressway has cut traveling time between Nairobi's Westlands district and the main airport from two hours to twenty minutes, amid relief to motorists who include tourists and entrepreneurs.
Steve Zhao, the CEO of Moja Expressway Company which is in charge of toll management and maintenance of the thoroughfare, said that on average, 50,000 motorists were using it daily, up from 10,000 in the last quarter of 2022.
"This shows that the Nairobi Expressway has indeed created a reliable route in the existing transport networks and an effective means to address congestion in Nairobi," Zhao said.
He noted that installation of an electronic toll collection system has ensured that motorists pass through the toll stations within three seconds, saving on fuel and boosting carbon emission reduction goals in Kenya.
Zhao disclosed that over 120,000 motorists were using the electronic tolling system, adding that their safety was guaranteed amid presence of a rapid rescue team in case of an accident.
Kungu Ndungu, the Director-General of Kenya National Highways Authority said the government will leverage Nairobi Expressway to attract investments in key sectors of the economy like housing, tourism and manufacturing.