A major highway from Nairobi to Thika (approximately 50km) is being built by China’s Wu Yi Company, Sinohydro Corporation Ltd and Shengli Engineering Construction. This highway is to join the two cities of Nairobi and Thika, north of Nairobi.
An article on the Daily Nation on Thursday 12 May, 2011 claims that there will be delays on the completion of the highway which had an expected completion date of February 2012. It is the increase in fuel prices that is being blamed for the delays in completing the highway which is expected to ease traffic in the congested city.
The KSh27 Billion Highway will cost the government even more claims the Roads Permanent Secretary Mr. Michael Kamau due to structural delays, and due to the increase in fuel prices. “If this project is delayed and the fuel prices continue behaving the way they are doing, then we have serious challenges on the amount of money we are going to pay on the variation on price,”
Surely in a country with over 160,000km of roads (paved and unpaved) and so highly dependent on oil imports (over 80,000 bbl/day – 2007 est) this should’ve been foreseen and budgeted, before construction of the highway even began.
So why suddenly is the increase in fuel prices being blamed for the delays and for the increase in cost? Is this simply and excuse for the delay?
Perhaps its time Kenya looks at fuel alternatives. It has an enormous potential to produce its own fuel through the growth and production of algae oil by using photo bio-reactors. Not only will the algae absorb and store CO2 (carbon dioxide) in its cell as it grows which will contribute to mitigating climate change, but it will also make Kenya free of oil imports. Micro-algae require sunshine, CO2 , and waste water to grow and thrive, Kenya has an abundance of all these ingredients.
Tony Piccolo – Aquatic Biofuels Specialist, Kisumu-Kenya