Kenya drops plan to hive off Uhuru Park for highway

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 31 Oct, 2019 12:48 | < 1 min read
JKIA expressway
Proposed JKIA-Westlands expressway. PHOTO | ILLUSTRATION
Proposed JKIA-Westlands expressway. PHOTO | ILLUSTRATION

The Kenyan government has revised the design of an expressway planned to pass through the capital, Nairobi, following a public uproar that the project would hive off parts of a famous recreational park.

The four-lane dual carriageway is to cost Sh61 shillings ($599m; £463m) and will run over 27km (16 miles) from the main airport to the western part of the city.

It is intended to ease the flow of traffic in the city and will be fully funded by a Chinese firm, which will recoup its investment with road tolls.

When President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the project two weeks ago Kenyans were angered by revelations that 1.3 acres (0.5 hectares) would be taken from Uhuru Park for the construction of the highway.

Many saw it as dishonouring the memory of Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, who rose to prominence for her efforts to preserve the park.

The Kenyan National Highways Authority had defended the initial plan, but many were not convinced.

The government seems to have bowed to the pressure with Transport Minister James Macharia announcing that Uhuru Park needed to be preserved for posterity.