NAIROBI, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday hailed Chinese-built roads in his country for boosting development and cutting travel times.
Kenyatta made the comments when speaking at the commissioning ceremony for the Nairobi Expressway and the revamped Nairobi Eastern Bypass.
China Road and Bridge Corporation built the 27 km Nairobi Expressway under a public-private partnership model. The road began a trial run in May.
"Since we opened the road (Nairobi Expressway) for public trials, it now takes between 15 and 24 minutes to drive from Mlolongo in Machakos County to Rironi in Kiambu County. Before the expressway, that journey would take at least three hours which is the equivalent of flying to Addis Ababa and back," Kenyatta said.
The Nairobi Eastern Bypass project was undertaken by China Communications Construction Company in January and has widened the bypass from the original two-lane single carriageway into a four-lane and six-lane dual carriageway.
Kenyatta said he believes the expressway and bypass will address Nairobi's traffic gridlock, estimated to cost the nation over 5 billion shillings (about 41.99 million U.S. dollars) annually in lost productivity and wasted fuel.
Noting the roads' value in reducing congestion and enhancing productivity, Kenyatta said the expressway has bolstered the country's tourism, conferencing and hospitality sectors, which together employ over 3 million Kenyans directly and another 6 million indirectly.
"This singular project secures Nairobi's status as the region's capital and economic nerve center and, therefore, strengthening Kenya's position as Eastern and Central Africa's commercial and diplomatic hub," he said.