No demolitions on Mombasa Road after all

April 4, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 4 – A task force is proposing using new routes on Mombasa road and Waiyaki Way to avoid the controversial compulsory acquisition of land along the busy highway that would have cost the government Sh60 billion in compensation.

The acquisition plans had caused uproar early this year with investors saying they would incur massive losses despite assurances by the government that they would be compensated.

The government-private sector working group appointed by PM Raila Odinga is recommending the immediate repeal of the gazette notices to forcefully acquire land on Mombasa Road and Waiyaki Way for expansion of roads.

 "We intend to repeal this gazette notice within this week to assure the investors of the government resolve to act as a facilitator rather than an adversary to the development of the business community "Mr Odinga asserted.

Speaking after receiving the report on task force undertaking a review of the expansion projects, Mr Odinga asked for a review of the road design in light of developments that have taken place along the road since the plans were initiated.

In the recommendations, the team proposes new land acquisition be carried out with relevant compensation paid to land owners on Mombasa Rd/Airport North Junction.

The report also proposes the opening up of service roads that will serve the Inland Container Depot and local promises located along the link from Mombasa Rd and Southern Service Road, while the Old Mombasa Road is to be refurbished to serve ICD and local premises.

No new land acquisition will be carried out on the Mombasa road/Southern Bypass Junction. The team proposes the setting up of a utility buffer zone located between Airport North Road and the railway line.

A fly over to be located on the Mombasa Road/Enterprise Junction will need to be revised as it took up more space, meanwhile approximately 0.5 hectares of land will be required for expansion of the road, which the report cites hold several parcels on road reserve.

The team further calls for new acquisition and compensation of the North Service Road, which once opened will allow access to premises along Mombasa Rd without directly linking to the highway.

On the Waiyaki way/James Gichuru Junction, the team suggests that two private parcels are required for a future flyover and will be acquired afresh, adding that additional land will be obtained from public institutions north of the junction.

Speaking on behalf of the investors, Standard Group Deputy Chairman Paul Melly, said the move to shelve the initial plan had saved the country billions of shillings.

Mr Odinga however underscored the need for public institutions to harmonize their operations in the road sector arguing that non conformity in decision making had plunged the country into the current mess in the physical planning.

He said the report unearthed cases where public road reserves were allocated to private developers and demanded that future road designs should prioritise the decongestion of main roads by planning for road corridors.

"We are trying to cure the ills of the past regimes but we must behave and work in a civilized manner and conserve our road reserves for future development" Mr Odinga insisted.

He expressed optimism that the proposed changes would entail free flow of traffic in the city and asked the stakeholders to fast track the construction exercise.

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