While the Nairobi Expressway is a piece of art, beneath it, the story is different.
The sight of wilted flowers, overgrown untended grass and graffiti on the pillars supporting the 27km shows the contrast between users of the expressway and those of the old road below it.
The contractor had planted grass and flowers in January to beautify the masterpiece. But most of the grass and flowers have withered.
In some sections, long untended grass has grown adjacent to potted plants.
Brown, dusty and withered flowers that were once colourful indicate a failure to care for them.
Despite appearances, the flowers are watered regularly, claimed Moja Expressway spokesperson Jeanne Ongiyo.
Semi-arid and highland region
“Moja Expressway engaged a team of landscaping architects and experts to advise on the kind of flowers that will withstand the climatic conditions, seeing that the road passes through a characteristic semi-arid and highland region with varying weather patterns,” she added.
At the Westlands stage, the expressway’s pillars have campaign posters and images on them.
“Graffiti and posters on the Nairobi Expressway and its auxiliary features are classified as vandalism [and] are prohibited,” a company notice warns.
The beautification that began in February was meant to make the road fuse with the surrounding landscape and hinder graffiti.
The expressway, whose construction started in October 2019 opened to the public on a trial basis on Saturday last week.
With 11 interchanges, it is expected to accommodate 120,000 daily users.
The road stretches from the western side of Nairobi and curves south-eastwards before finishing in Mlolongo.