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Traffic jams set to ease with new parking, street designs

Traffic congestion is set to ease in Nairobi with the review of road junctions, parking slots and street designs in the city centre and surrounding areas.

Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) has advertised for a consultant to conduct a study funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) as part of the loans provided for the expansion of Outer Ring Road.

The study is keen on solving traffic jams on routes leading to central business district (CBD), which is expected to worsen with the upgrade of a number of roads close to the city centre.

DUAL CARRIAGE

It could lead to the expansion of lanes at the junctions, making some streets one way and removal of parking bays on some roads, engineers at Kura said.

Works on the dual carriage of five main roads in Nairobi have started with release of Sh3.4 billion from the European Union.

The project that will turn Lusaka, Enterprise and Likoni roads as well as Ring Road (Parklands) and Quarry Road (Gikomba) into dual carriages.

The upgrade will also include extension of General Waruinge Road in Eastleigh to Thika super highway via Juja Road as well as building foot and cycling paths on Lusaka Road and Mumias Road in Buru Buru.

The expected increase in the flow of traffic to the CBD, prompted the review of road designs in the city centre that lacks space for street expansions.

A study by IBM Corporation in 2012 says Kenya loses Sh50 million daily due to time wasted on road.

A recent report by Japan International Cooperation Agency, which was commissioned by City Hall, showed that in 2013 the average speed of traffic in the capital was 40km/h, which is forecast to halve in the next 15 years without extra transport capacity.

REDUCING CONGESTION

Last year, according to the Economic Survey 2014, the number of new registered vehicles went up by 21 per cent.

The government has been working on reducing congestion by revamping the railway transport as well as expanding major roads. However, many Kenyans are yet to embrace railway transport.

Two commuter stations were commissioned last year in Imara Daima and Makadara where passengers would leave their cars and board trains bound for the city centre.

This was aimed at reducing traffic jams, especially in the morning when people report to work and in the evening when the majority of the workers return home.

The AfDB in 2013 approved a $120 million (Sh10.3 billion) financing for the upgrade of Nairobi’s Outer Ring road. Ngong Road will also be expanded.

The study by Kura comes in the wake of delays by City Hall to release a report by a decongestion committee that completed its work months ago.

The 18-member committee was formed in January last year and was to release an interim report in 60 days and this is yet to be made public one year on.