Motorists using the Nakuru-Nairobi highway will pay toll fees for up to 30 years once its dual upgrade is completed.
The dualling will be part of the 175-kilometre upgrade which will start at Rironi, proceed to Nakuru town, and terminate at the Mau Summit. The dual carriageway is being undertaken at a cost of Ksh160 Billion.
The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) disclosed that a private investor who was contracted for the project will set up toll stations where motorists will pay for using the road.
“They will raise finances for the road project, design, construct, maintain and operate the road on pre-agreed standards and specifications. The concession period is 30 years and they will run it for 26 and a half years,” KeNHA Project Manager Kefa Seda disclosed.
The road, which is aimed at reducing congestion along the busy road, will run from Rironi to Mau Summit through Maai Mahiu, Naivasha, Gilgil, and Nakuru town.
The project also includes strengthening and widening of the existing Rironi-Mai Mahiu-Naivasha Road to become a 7-metre carriageway with 2-metre shoulders on both sides, construction of four kilometre viaduct (elevated highway) through Nakuru town, and construction and improvement of interchanges along the highway.
The construction of the road is set to begin later in 2021 and will be complete in 42 months.
The rates for tolls will be gazetted by the Minister of Transport as it was done by CS James Macharia for the Nairobi Expressway in December 2020.
Macharia directed that motorists would part with between Ksh100 and Ksh1,700 depending on the type of vehicle to use the expressway.
The Chinese firm which is currently building the 27.1 km road linking the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to the Nairobi-Nakuru highway, will operate the road for 30 years before handing it over to the State.
Road tolls were initially introduced in Kenya in the late 1980s as a form of the government to regain the cost of road construction and maintenance given the huge rise in the number of vehicles.
However, they were later scrapped in the mid-1990s in favour of the Roads Maintenance Levy to eliminate corruption at toll stations.
With the reintroduction of the toll charges on the highways, motorists will pay the fee on top of the levies charged in fuel.
Other highways where motorists may soon start paying include Nairobi-Mombasa, Nairobi-Thika and Nairobi’s Southern Bypass.
The Road Tolls Act directs that any person who drives a vehicle through a toll station except by the route designated for the passage of that vehicle or refuses to stop a vehicle at a toll station and to pay the toll or fraudulently or forcibly drives a vehicle through a toll station without paying the toll, shall be guilty of an offense and liable to a fine not exceeding Ksh5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
The transport CS has the power to declare the types of vehicles to be exempted from paying the prescribed tolls.
In the December 2020 gazette notice for the Nairobi Expressway, Macharia exempted ambulances, police vehicles, and military vehicles from the toll charges.