The Thika Super Highway is now complete, and President Kibaki is set to open it officially on Friday.
But the road — by all standards an engineering showpiece — overshot its budget by Sh4 billion and is eight months behind schedule.
Its budget was initially Sh27 billion, but it ended up swallowing Sh31 billion due to inflation and additional features that changed design work.
The mega-project in East and Central Africa started in 2009, and was expected to end in December 2011. (SEE IN PICTURES: Thika Road expands)
It involved expanding the four-lane carriageway to eight lanes, building underpasses, providing interchanges at roundabouts, erecting flyovers and building underpasses to ease congestion.
The 50.4 kilometre road was built in three phases: Uhuru Highway to Muthaiga Roundabout; Muthaiga Roundabout to Kenyatta University and; Kenyatta University to Thika Town.
The sections were undertaken by China Wu Yi, Sinohydro and Sheng Li respectively.
Speaking while inspecting the finishing touches to the eight-lane road on Monday, Kenya National Highways Authority chief Michael Kidenda said some lanes were increased from two to three, pushing up the cost.
He said the weakening of the shilling against the dollar, which went up to Sh117 last year, as well as relocating some utilities also pushed up the cost.
Mr Kidenda said the completion of the road was a pointer to Kenya’s progression towards realising Vision 2030.
“We are delighted to present Kenyans with a revolutionary road that is expected to reducing general transport cost,” he said.
He said to travel from Thika to Nairobi before the road was built took two hours but travel time had now been reduced to between 30 and 45 minutes.
He said some of the bumps on the road would be removed according to highways rules and advice pedestrians to use the 18 pedestrian crossings provided to reduce accidents.
“The A2 international trunk road (foreign country to foreign country) links great North Trans-African highway from Cape Town to Cairo in Egypt. The road also links destinations in Somalia and Ethiopia with Nairobi,” Mr Kidenda said.
Other benefits which had come with the road include the construction of a Sh2.4 billion plant by Pepsi Cola between the highway and Baba Dogo which would create more employment for Kenyans, he said.
Other mega projects will be the Sh240 billion Tatu City, Thika Greens, Bufallo Hills Golf and Leisure Village. “Major shopping malls expected to dot the region in the next few months,” he said.
He said apart from Thika road, several other roads being built by Kenha throughout the country.