Embakasi, Ruai Homeowners Threatened by Ksh40B Project

Joyland shopping center in Ruaka. December 21, 2020.
  • The planned expansion of the Eastern Bypass into a 4-lane dual carriage highway is giving several landlords and homeowners sleepless nights.

    The Ksh40 billion project is set to transform the landscape of the entire 31.4km stretch of road that cuts across Mihang’o, Ruai, Embakasi, and Mukuru kwa Njenga.

    In the supplementary budget 2019/2020 shared by Parliament, Ksh100 million was set aside to facilitate the expansion project.

    Notably, Kamakis area in Ruiru has witnessed a surge in developed properties along the road. Residential houses and business establishments have sprouted in the hundreds.

    Joyland shopping center in Ruaka. December 21, 2020.
    Eddy Mwanza

    A feasibility study carried out by the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) during the approval phase of the project shows that land along the bypass is both public and privately owned.

    “Land use along the Eastern bypass consists of residential dwellings, retail business (shops, supermarkets, petrol stations, hardware stores, and fast food cafes),” the report reads in part.

    The project is to be undertaken in tandem with the dualling of the Northern Bypass road that has seen homeowners in Ruaka turn to the courts to seek compensation for the hundreds of apartments that are set for demolition.

    The Northern Bypass expansion, which has now reached Joyland Shopping Center in Ruaka, resulted in houses being marked  ‘remove’ all the way from Ndenderu to Ruaka.

    A similar scenario is envisaged along the Eastern Bypass, with properties worth hundreds of millions at risk.

    According to the Nema report, legal landowners will be compensated by the national government while those found to be encroachers on road reserves set to bear losses in the millions.

    The current road network in Nairobi City County is inadequate in terms of coverage to meet current and future demands as projected in the Vision 2030 plan.

    The planned expansion of the Eastern Bypass is expected to increase the capacity of the road and address the current challenges such as accidents.

    Findings of the study concluded that the project will result in easing traffic along both the Eastern and Northern bypass, making it safer for use by both motorists and pedestrians.

    However, the project will also have some undesirable impact on the physical environment both during the construction and operation phases.

    Landlords along the stretch of road are more concerned about whether or not they will be compensated as they are set to lose millions in not only property value, but potential earned revenue as well.

    At the centre of the project also sits Northlands City – a mega-housing project, that will add 30,000 road users on the highway according to Nema.

    “According to project proponents, the proposed development will ultimately house 250,000 people. It is projected that this population will generate up to 30,000 vehicles per day on to the Eastern bypass and 27,000 vehicles per day on Thika Road,” reads an excerpt from the report.

    Protesters pictured on the Eastern bypass following an accident that killed 8 pedestrians on October 11, 2019.
    Protesters pictured on the Eastern bypass following an accident that killed 8 pedestrians on October 11, 2019.

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