DEVELOPERS PUT ON NOTICE

Land grab hampers Sh1 billion Thika ring-road project

Only one per cent of the 24-kilometre Gatuanyaga road has been done.

In Summary

• The road passes through Muguga, Ngurai, Munyu, Githima, Kang’oki and Kisii, then back to the Thika-Garissa highway. 

• MP Wainaina put on notice residents and developers who have encroached on the corridor.

A section of the Gatuanyaga ring-road in Thika East.
A section of the Gatuanyaga ring-road in Thika East.
Image: John Kamau
A section of the Gatuanyaga ring-road in Thika East.
A section of the Gatuanyaga ring-road in Thika East.
Image: John Kamau

A Sh1 billion road project in Thika East, Kiambu, faces hurdles occasioned by encroachment by private developers.

Only one per cent of the 24-kilometre Gatuanyaga ring-road has been done since the project started late last year, according to Benjamin Asim, an engineer with Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura).

The road passes through Muguga, Ngurai, Munyu, Githima, Kang’oki and Kisii, then back to the Thika-Garissa highway. 

Speaking to journalists while on an inspection tour of the project, Asim said it may take longer to be completed because of the bottlenecks faced by the contractor. He was accompanied by Thika MP Patrick Wainaina.

“Only one per cent, mainly soil stripping, has been done. The delay has been occasioned by encroachment on the road corridor. Structures have been built on the road... The project is expected to be complete in 30 months but may take longer,” he said, also citing electric poles and run-off from burst water pipes.

MP Wainaina put on notice residents and developers who have encroached on the corridor, especially around the Kang’oki area. He told them to remove the structures or the state will bring them down at their expense.

“We don’t want delays in this project. We want it completed on time for our own benefit and therefore anyone who has erected structures should move with speed and pull them down. The road design is complete and cannot be contested,” he said.

He also warned prospective investors and land buyers to conduct thorough searches before buying land in the area, saying unscrupulous brokers are taking advantage of the project to sell road reserves.

Wainaina said the road will open up the region for investment, boost trade and spur economic growth. “Expect land prices in Thika East villages to triple once the road is completed because accessibility to Thika town will be eased,” he said.

Residents called on the government to move with speed and fix the problems faced by the contractor so the project can continue according to plan.

“We are also pleading with the contractor to comply with the law and source labour from our villages. We have so many jobless youths and this project should end their misery,” Joseph Ndung’u said.

Samuel Mwaura urged the contractor to build proper drainage to avert flooding, as well as street lights to enhance security. “We also want footpaths because this area has a high traffic of trucks that ferry building stones from local quarries."

The Class B road will be 6.5-metre wide, with walkways and a lane for cyclists. It will be able to withstand heavy trucks that ferry stones.

Meantime, Wainaina also allayed fears that there was a conflict between his office and Governor James Nyoro's administration over the ongoing recarpeting of roads in Thika town. He said the roads are clearly demarcated.

“The county government is doing three kilometres around Kenyatta Highway and the Upper Road, while the national government, through Kura, has undertaken the recarpeting of 13 kilometres within the CBD,” he said.