Public outcry forces Kura to redesign phase III of killer Ngong Road

 End of the road: A section of Ngong Road, Nairobi on Sunday, October 3, 2021.

It came as a relief for many in 2017 when the government announced plans to expand Ngong Road in Nairobi into a dual carriageway.

Travellers who have used the road in the past year now wish the road had not been expanded.

With the work 95 percent complete, according to the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura), the agency is redesigning sections of the 9.8 kilometre road from Dagoretti Corner to Karen Shopping Centre.

This comes after motorists complained about the poor design that they said led to deaths and injuries.

The project was to be completed in 2019 but that failed to happen as the contractor encountered challenges moving water and power lines and evicting furniture traders who had invaded the road.

The contractor for the Sh2.3 billion project was Chinese firm Qingjian International Group (K) Ltd.

In an interview with Nation.Africa, Kura Director-General Silas Kinoti said the government was aware of the challenges of driving on the section, which include lanes that end abruptly.

“The person who did the road markings did not liaise with the designs of the road and that is why we stopped it. We stopped it and we are working to correct it, but we want to do it professionally and ensure that the markings go together with the design of the road,” Mr Kinoti said.

Motorists had urged the government to find a lasting solution.

After their pleas went unheard, on Monday they protested over the stretch from the Dagoretti Bridge up to Lenana and blocked the road in the Racecourse area with an orange-painted boulder and wooden hazard signs.

The road lacks signs to show, among others, two U-turns that have claimed many lives and put others at risk.

By Monday evening, Kura had moved in and erected a speed bump in the area to slow down motorists and by Tuesday morning the contractor was back on the road removing protruding sections that had led to accidents.

An incomplete footbridge along Ngong Road on October 3, 2021. Lack of such facilities has forced pedestrians to cross the busy road at the risk of being knocked down by speeding vehicles.

Kura spokesman John Cheboi told Nation.Africa by phone that the agency was on the ground to improve safety and save lives.

“We are improving the area by removing what was like an island and which gave motorists problems because they would think the road is continuous,” he said.


He added that the improvement will also include signage not only in the notorious area but also along the entire road.

Asked if the planned improvements and redesigning will cost taxpayers money, Mr Cheboi said the contractor will pay for them as he had not completed the road. “There will be no cost implementation,” he said.

The road also lacks lighting, with Mr Kinoti saying there were no provisions for street lighting and Kura is working with the Ministry of Energy through Kenya Power to instal lights.

“It is one of the things that you complain about. It is not well lit and well-marked and it becomes a safety hazard. If you look at social media, one of the places that we are being boxed in is Ngong Road. Resources and mobilisation is an issue and it will be sorted out soon.”

The government fully funded the project, which covers three sections: Dagoretti Corner-Karen roundabout (6.2km), Karen Road (1.9km) and a small section of Lang’ata Road from Karen Shopping Centre (1.7km).

Kura said the work includes 6.5-metre wide, two-lane carriageways, and two roundabouts, one at the Karen Road/Ngong Road intersection and the other at the Karen Road/Lang’ata Road junction.

Travellers who have used the road in the past year now wish the road had not been expanded.

The design will include bus bays, footbridges, footpaths and cycle paths.

Sections will also be landscaped and beautified to preserve the environment.

Kura said the project is part of infrastructure upgrades meant to elevate the status of Nairobi and its environs and achieve the Vision 2030 objective of transforming the country into a middle-income economy.

Ngong Road is being upgraded in three phases. Phase one covered the section from Kenya National Library to the Ring Road junction.

The project, commissioned in August 2016, is partially funded through a grant from Japan under its Economic Co-operation Programme Project.

World Kaihatsu Kogyo Company Ltd, a Japanese firm, worked on the 2.5km section from Kenya National Library to Prestige Plaza. It was completed in December 2017 at Sh1.3 billion.

The second phase, also financed by Japan, covers the 4km section from Prestige Plaza to Dagoretti Corner. The project was completed in April 2019 for Sh2 billion.