Bechtel Corp. in the running for six lane Mombasa- Nairobi highway

A section of Thika Road. Photo/Courtesy
A section of Thika Road. Photo/Courtesy

A U.S engineering firm has emerged as the front runner to finance the construction of a six lane highway between Mombasa and Nairobi.

California based Bechtel Corporation is in talks with the ministry of Transport for the expansion of the highway as part of efforts to ease traffic congestion.

Statehouse Spokesman Manoah Esipisu says the firm has already written a letter of interest to be part of the major road project.

“We are hopeful that these discussions will bear fruit, and that Kenya will soon enjoy the new infrastructure on the Nairobi-Mombasa route. More importantly, though, this is a show of continued massive international investor confidence in our economy and our country,” Mr Esipisu said during his weekly address.

Bechtel Corp. has operations in mining, oil and gas, nuclear energy as well as infrastructure.

Mega projects undertaken by the firm include the construction of the Hoover dam, the Hong Kong International Airport as well as the trans-Alaska pipeline system.

The deal is being facilitated by the US government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) which is seeking to increase funding to projects in Africa.

Mr Esipisu said the firm would be supported by the United States’ Import-Export Bank and OPIC in the deal.

OPIC has opened a representative office in Nairobi as it seeks to secure business deals for US based companies.

The intent was made during last week’s US Africa Business forum running on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71).

Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia last week said the government was looking to partner with the private sector to finance and construct the road.

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Story By Sophie Kinoti
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