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The nightmare that is Kasarani–Mwiki Road – VIDEO


Thousands of Nairobians who reside along the Kasarani–Mwiki Road are facing a tough time due to the incomplete road work in the area.

The residents feel they have been shortchanged by the government despite numerous promises to upgrade the road, which is in a deplorable state.

Residents are now asking for speedy construction of the road eight months after protests left one person dead and several others injured.

Four months after Jamkara Construction Limited started rehabilitating the road, the only significant progress on site are the trenches, huge heaps of soil and numerous diversions that are greatly inconveniencing pedestrians.

Other than the traffic nightmare, slow road work has also disrupted businesses along the busy road.

“Since March, the only progress we have seen is the dug up drainage. Businesses have been badly affected and many traders have relocated. We are afraid its completion might take longer than we expected,” said Lukas Oduor, a furniture shop owner.

The approximately 3km Kasarani-Mwiki Road is a picture of complete neglect. The road is a vital link for those looking to connect all the way from Kangundo Road to Thika Superhighway and vice-versa.

DETOURS

With the delays, residents are now being forced to take long detours to avoid accidents and vehicle breakdowns on the road.

“We have really suffered on this road. It is taking too long for the contractor to finish the work. This is the scenario year in year out. Is there no contractor who can get the job done?” wondered Joseph Mwanzia, a boda boda rider who has been doing business along the road for almost a decade.

According to Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura), the main project work is to rehabilitate the approximately 3km of roads in Kasarani-Mwiki in Nairobi City County.

An aerial view of a section of the Kasarani-Mwiki road that is under construction. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
An aerial view of a section of the Kasarani-Mwiki road that is under construction. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

“The main project road is approximately 3km and will consist of, but not limited to, rehabilitation to bitumen standard and construction of drainage structures,” Kura’s contract reads in part.

The proposed works will include, but not limited to, construction of 7.0m carriageways with 1.0m wide shoulders, open drains on either side of the road, road furniture, utility relocation, safety provisions and protection works.

Once the construction is complete, the contractor will maintain the road for a year.

A closed section of the Kasarani-Mwiki road which is under construction. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
A closed section of the Kasarani-Mwiki road which is under construction. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

PROTESTS

The Kasarani-Mwiki Road’s condition has been the cause of many protests by area residents since the days of the defunct Nairobi City Council administration.

In January, transport was paralysed in Kasarani and Mwiki areas for four days as matatu operators protested over the poor state of the road. The situation would later degenerate into running battles between the police and the protesters.

During the four-day demonstrations, police used teargas and a water cannon to disperse the angry protesters who had barricaded the road, leaving one person dead and several others injured.

The resultant demonstrations forced Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja and top security officers from the DCI and Kura to promise to have a contractor on site to begin the work.

Road contractors on site at Kasarani-Mwiki road in this photo taken on September 10, 2020. Area residents have decried the slow progress of the work. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE
Road contractors on site at Kasarani-Mwiki road in this photo taken on September 10, 2020. Area residents have decried the slow progress of the work. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE

“For the last few days, we have witnessed the ugliest scenes in Kasarani. However, I am happy to report that we have all agreed to stop the demos immediately. We have instructed the contractor to be on the site immediately with a dredger,” said Mr Sakaja then.

In February, Kura acting Director-General Cyrus Kinoti blamed the rains and pledged to embark on pending repairs as soon as the rains subsided, noting that the Kasarani-Mwiki road had been allocated Sh300 million of the Sh1.7 billion set aside for city road repairs.

For now, residents and motorists who use the road will have to contend with daily traffic snarl-ups, as work progresses at a snail’s pace. But for how long, no one knows.