Motorists and residents in Limuru have asked the Kenya National Highways Authority to fix drainages on James Gichuru and Kamandura roads on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.
The floods got motorists stuck at Kamandura underpass on Friday night. The motorists faulted the incomplete drainage at the section under construction.
Transporter James Kanyi said the trouble may be far from over since contractor China Wu Yi’s workers are on strike. “We are not sure if the drainage will be fixed in time. They have been on strike since Tuesday last week. We witnessed police dispersing them with tear gas on Wednesday,” he said.
Kanyi added, “We urge Kenha, the Roads ministry and the county government to check the drainage.”
Kanyi is also a resident in the area. He said apart from the underpass being flooded, petrol stations, shopping centres and roads joining the highway suffered the same fate.
Five families spent the night at Kamandura underpass after their vehicles were submerged. They had to break car windows to escape.
Motorist Geoffrey Gichure said his car was one of the six that were marooned. Among them was a trailer that got stuck at the underpass at 3am. There was huge traffic on Mai Mahiu–Kamandura Road.
Gichure said, “We spent more than six hours in the jam. When we arrived at the underpass, we realised the water was a lot when our vehicles started floating.”
“It was like they were being pushed, brakes couldn’t work, engine went off, windows couldn’t open. I broke mine and I evacuated two women and a child passenger who were inside.”
China Wu Yi’s officials refused to speak to the press.
Construction of James Gichuru Road has been paralysed as employees boycott work, demanding better pay.
The road is being expanded into six lanes on each side for Sh16.3 billion — running up to Rironi on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.
The workers started their strike on Tuesday. They say they are paid Sh40 per hour and work from 8am to 6pm. From this, they pay the NHIF, the NSSF and Paye.
“The money we receive after all deductions is very little. There are those who work until 12pm from 8am. Some of us have families and we live in rented houses,” one worker said.
China Wu Yi says it treats and pays the employees well in compliance with the labour laws. An officer who sought anonymity blamed the protests on incitement by trade unionists. The workers demanded to speak with officials from World Bank, who is funding the project.