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City Hall mulls review of roundabouts rule after chaos

City Hall will in the next two days decide on whether to review the new traffic rules that bar motorists from making right turns on major roundabouts in Nairobi that on Tuesday caused heavy snarl-ups.

County executive for roads Mohammed Abdullahi said they are monitoring the impact of the new rules in easing traffic jams.

Mombasa Road on Tuesday morning choked with traffic blamed on drivers who lost direction upon learning there was no right turn and U-turns at the Nyayo Stadium roundabout, prompting delays of up to four hours.

“We are monitoring this for another day or two to establish whether it is working or if we can improve on gray areas,” Mr Abdullahi said on Tuesday.

The county executive, however, said he was hopeful the one-way continuous flow of vehicles would help ease snarl-ups when drivers get familiar with the new routes.

EXTRA KILOMETRE

“It may require motorists to go an extra kilometre, taking them a few minutes compared to previous situation where people spent hours stuck in one spot,” said Mr Abdullahi.

To guide traffic flow at roundabouts, City Hall has barricaded passageways for making right and U-turns.

The removal of the roundabouts is expected to be a quick fix improvement of the flow of vehicles along the main road as authorities develop long-term solutions like building flyovers and dual carriage ways.

But on Tuesday dozens of motorists were forced to change routes at the roundabouts on short notice, causing confusion.

Motorists from Industrial Area using Lusaka Road to the city centre are not allowed to take a turn at the Nyayo Stadium intersection, but will instead drive in the opposite direction and take their turn at the South C bridge.

However, the Westlands roundabout on Tuesday did not suffer as much as traffic flow was steady.

TRAFFIC PATTERNS

“We have studied the traffic movement patterns of the city and established that the disuse of roundabouts will significantly ease flow,” said Mr Abdullahi who cited Mombasa Road on which three in every vehicles plying the route drive either towards or out of the central business district, calling the need for one-way continuous flow.

Motorists from the city and Rhapta Road are not allowed to turn into Westlands. They are instead expected to proceed to a U-turn at Brookside Drive then make their way back to Westlands.

Equally, those from Westlands driving into Rhapta Road or Kangemi are not allowed to turn at the intersection, but will drive on to the U-turn near Consolata School.

Exiting the road at Chiromo to Riverside Drive has also ceased with motorists required to proceed to Westlands roundabout and exit using Rhapta Road towards Kileleshwa.

Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero announced the plan to do away with five roundabouts in March in managing traffic flow.

Mr Kidero said they would be substituted by signalised intersections to improve flow by about 30 to 40 per cent.