Work on Nairobi Expressway blamed for recent traffic jams

Nairobi Expressway

Traffic jam on Mombasa Road occasioned by the construction of Nairobi Express on October 9, 2021.


Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

Ongoing construction of the Nairobi Expressway is blamed for heavy traffic jams on Mombasa Road in the past three days, police have said.

The contractor was raising a beam near Mlolongo and had to close a section of the busy highway, forcing a three-way road to be scaled down to one.

This caused a heavy traffic jam from City Cabanas to Mlolongo for hours.

On Wednesday, the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) cautioned Nairobi-bound motorists about a snarl-up on the road in Mlolongo after a trailer truck stalled.

“As interventions are being made to clear the troubled section, we urge motorists to exercise patience and lane discipline for a smooth flow of traffic.”

On Monday, motorists spent almost seven hours on a stretch between City Cabanas and Mlolongo. The jam continued on Tuesday, with the evening showers adding to the mess.

Meanwhile, police have said that a sewer pipe burst on Manyanja Road, disrupting traffic flow on Outer Ring Road. Vehicles snaked to Mombasa Road and Jogoo Road, complicating an already dire situation.

Frustrated drivers

Frustrated drivers have been expressing their anger after spending hours overnight in the traffic.

“At Hilton Gardens, Mombasa Road outbound at 00.30am. Mainly because of a 50m narrow stretch with potholes and uneven road surfaces, yet contractor is on site,” tweeted Charlie Owino.

“Once again the Chinese contractor has decided to close sections of the Expressway at Hilton hotel, throwing motorists on Mombasa Road outbound back to the narrow service lane,” added one Gor Atemah.

Last week, Kenha cautioned commuters, motorists, and other road users to brace for snarl-ups and congestion.

One of the sections that has faced traffic disruptions recently is General Motors (GM), due to multiple diversions created in the area. Contractors are building a road that will link the GM area to the Nairobi Expressway.

Kenha also said that the Mlolongo will experience traffic congestion owing to the erection of a new pedestrian footbridge.

Those seeking to join Mombasa Road from areas around Syokimau and others were also warned of the disruption after access to the service lane was blocked.

U-turn

Motorists were advised to make a U-turn at the Allpark service road while others were told to drive all the way to Mlolongo to make a U-turn.

Excavation work at Gateway Mall is also expected to create traffic disruption around the area as contractors remove the oil pipeline that crosses under the road.

The section from the Bunyala Road roundabout all the way to University Way is also expected to be congested due to the ongoing construction.

Kenyans will begin using the Chinese-built Nairobi Expressway in March, three months earlier than anticipated, an official said on Friday.

Kenha Director-General Kung'u Ndung'u said construction is 82 per cent complete.

He added that the construction of the operation and monitoring centre is at 99.5 per cent while elevated sections are 98.5 per cent completed.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in December toured the 27km road that is financed and built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC). The firm will operate the highway under a public-private partnership for 30 years.

Mr Kenyatta hailed the expressway as a key infrastructure project, noting that the highway will reduce traffic gridlocks in the city that have added to the cost of doing business in the country.

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