• As a result of the recent rains, almost all the roads in Nairobi and Mt Kenya counties are full of potholes.
• There should be some funds to take care of large infrastructure investments before they are destroyed completely by lack of repair.
Just before the Christmas holidays, there was excitement in parts of Central Kenya when the government announced that a new road connecting Kiambu, Murang’a and Nyeri counties would be constructed starting this year.
This will be in addition to the expansion of the Kenol-Sagana-Marua Road to a dual carriageway. As a resident of one of the counties in the Mt Kenya region, I laud the government for this noble gesture.
I am, however, of the view that instead of initiating these two new projects in 2020, we should spend the next 12 months repairing the dilapidated roads and improving the existing ones. As a result of the recent rains, almost all the roads in Nairobi and Mt Kenya counties are full of potholes. Drive on the Muthaiga Road in Nairobi (where many Ambassadors live), towards the United Nations Avenue and you will be shocked by the size of potholes.
This situation is replicated in every subcounty of the city. Driving from Kiambu town to Banana Hill is a nightmare while potholes in Thome and Garden estates of Nairobi have made traffic jams a permanent feature. The solution is not just to seal the potholes on these roads but a complete re-carpeting and improvement of the drainage systems.
The contractors awarded such jobs should also give guarantees that they will repair (at their own cost), any potholes or drainage systems that collapse within a specified period of time, like a warranty. There is an urgent need to continuously maintain and service the newly constructed roads.
The heavy rains brought debris to the new Outer Ring Road and there is no one to sweep the debris away or repair sections of the road furniture destroyed in accidents. There should be some funds to take care of these large infrastructure investments before they are destroyed completely by lack of repair.
It is a pity that it takes more than an hour to drive from Nairobi to Thika during peak hours because of the bumps erected on the road due to the delay in erecting the promised footbridges. At all the exits and entry points to the superhighway, there are permanent jams as motorists attempt to enter or leave the highway. On the newly constructed Ngong Road, there are no acceleration and deceleration lanes. One joins or leaves the two express lanes from the side roads which results in many accidents.
We will all save much more money by spending less time on Thika Road in 2020. A year’s delay in constructing the dual carriageway to Marua and the Mau Mau Road is a price worth paying for increasing efficiency and easing traffic in Nairobi and on the highway to Mt Kenya.