Mwaura Kimani swiftly engages and alternates the gears as he speeds down the Thika Superhighway. A matatu (taxi bus) driver for more than 8 years, Kimani recalls the 2-hour commute to the city center on a narrow and dusty two-lane road in a cloud of smoke and ceaseless honking. Now, Kimani makes that journey in less than20 minutes.
"Traffic jams used to be crazy here," Kimani says. "Now, it'seasy to get in and out of the (Central Business District). It feels good." The transformation of the Nairobi commute is thanks, in largepart, to an eight-lane freeway, complete with flyovers, bypasses, underpasses, cycle lanes and footpaths. Three Chinese companies-- China Wu Yi, Sinohydro Corp. and Shengli Engineering Construction Group-- have expanded the road, in just more than 3 years, into a 30-mile expressway that has become thecity's new source of pride.