Nairobi Expressway
The Nairobi Expressway Project is a 27.1 km Class A dual-carriageway road, developed under a Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Transfer (DBFOT) PPP Model. The China-financed toll road starts near Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the east and ends on the western edge of the city.

The project consists of a total of 11 interchanges, 5 mainline bridges and 20 ramp bridges. The primary mainline bridge has a length of 8.6 km, with Precast box girders and composite beams. The project also includes 5 pedestrian overpasses, 5 box culverts, 95 pipe culverts, mainline toll stations, 1 management centre and 1 maintenance base.


The expressway was developed as the first PPP-DBFOT Concession in Kenya and was identified as a strategic priority project by the Government of Kenya.



The challenge

The project required SMEC to manage and supervise construction of one of the largest highway projects in East Africa, within record time.  Spanning a highly complex urban environment with heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic the project demanded diligent planning with regards to traffic management and safety. SMEC was appointed as the Contractor’s Engineer with the following roles and functions:

  • Construction management of physical works, including maintenance
  • Traffic Management
  • HSE management support
  • Quality control
  • Assessment of environmental and social impacts of large structures, intersection and road improvements and recommend mitigation measures including monitoring during the contract period
  • Associated documentation & reporting

The solution

SMEC mobilised a multi-disciplined team of experts, familiar with local and regional standards, and with the requisite knowledge and capacity to manage quality on the project. The team was able to establish a “Trusted Advisor” relationship with the client who understood that any interventions and recommendations made were in the interest of the project. Specific value-adds included:

  • Mobilisation within a short period of time to meet the fast-track delivery schedule
  • Establishment of QA/QC protocols to facilitate controlled and efficient quality management processes on a fast-track project running a 24-hour/ 7-day per week construction schedule.

Five separate construction teams were established, each with its own scope on a different section of the Expressway. One of SMEC’s primary roles was to ensure that the same standards of quality were adhered to throughout the sections, and that appropriate measures were taken to ensure public safety throughout the project site.

The impact

This project was successfully completed in 18 months, six months ahead of schedule, with a limited number of instances of major quality and safety issues.

The expressway is part of the northern corridor that provides passage to 85% of the cargo destined for neighbouring landlocked countries, such as Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. The benefits that are expected from this expressway include improved connectivity for the transport of goods, services and people between Nairobi and the entire northern corridor. It’s also expected to ease the flow of traffic through the city and significantly reduce response time to emergencies as it contains dedicated emergency lanes on either side.

As the project has been substantially completed, we would like to express our gratitude to your specialised and industrious team for the professional skill during the Construction Period.
———— Client Representative, MOJA Expressway Company


Talk to one of our specialists about our role on the Nairobi Expressway project.