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Improving road conditions in Nairobi, Kenya

Photo: Artist's impression produced by the project team

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Nairobi's population has grown significantly in recent years − as has the number of vehicles crossing the city. Now the main highway is due to have its capacity increased.

Nairobi is situated along the Great North Road that links the landlocked Uganda and other countries to the port of Mombasa. The initial layout of Nairobi's main road system was reasonably well planned and spacious, but the city's development has not been able to keep up with the explosive population growth and daily traffic volume of 75,000 vehicles.

COWI and its local partner Otieno Odongo and Partners have been commissioned by the Kenya National Highways Authority to design the expansion of the Likoni Road Junction to James Gichuru Road Junction on the A104 – a highway stretch of 12 kilometres. The assignment involves capacity improvement of the existing 2-3 lane dual carriageway by design of additional lanes and grade-separated intersections in the form of flyovers and elevated road sections.

Designing aesthetic solutions based on new analysis toolsThe road link passes right through Nairobi's central business district next to the beautiful Uhuru Park. One of the challenges for COWI's design team is to come up with an aesthetical solution that respects the need for increased traffic capacity as well as the pristine surroundings.

In the design phase, COWI will not only take into consideration the city's surroundings. Traffic simulations and analyses will also be used in order to ensure that the city's traffic congestions will in fact be significantly reduced with the expansion of the highway.

Improving road and public transport

Nairobi's population in the day is much higher than in the night. During day times, Nairobi gathers many people from the neighbouring districts of Thika, Kiambu, Muranga, Kajiado and Machakos who come to Nairobi to work, to study and to do business. Not only does this flow of people impact on the road traffic, it also increases the demand for public transport.

The Kenya National Highway Authority is therefore also looking into the options for improving the public transport with a Bus Rapid Transport System. "In order to address the near traffic crisis we are experiencing in the urban centres, especially during the peak hours of morning and evening, we are engaging other stakeholders to come up with long-term solutions," says Denis Odeck (Eng.), Manager in charge of the NUTRIP project.

Focus on urban roadsCOWI has a long history in road design, construction and maintenance successfully completing a number of urban road projects across the globe. COWI's involvement in Africa, however, has mainly been within rural highways, so Business Development Director for Roads, Railways and Airports in COWI, Jens Christoffersen, was particularly pleased when the contract was signed: "The project adds to our strategy of establishing ourselves as an international consultant in Africa not only within rural highways, but also urban roads and infrastructure in general," says Christoffersen.

By Anja Basilio Fabech, afj@cowi.com
Published 7 May 2012

LAST UPDATED: 31.07.2017