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Kenya moves to ease weighbridge traffic

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 5 – The government has announced that it will soon implement measures to improve and ease congestion at the Mariakani and Athi River weighbridges.

Roads Permanent Secretary Eng Michael Kamau said on Tuesday that the measures, which include the installation of weigh-in motion weighbridges, are contained in the Axle Load Control Best Options study which the government had pledged to execute fully.

“At the moment, you drive into Mlolongo and if you are coming from Nairobi you turn to the right to get into the weighbridge. It is undesirable, it stops flow of traffic, but based on this study we are going to have weighbridges on either side and have the weigh-in-motion,” he said while highlighting the problems that truck drivers and other transporters face at these stations.

The Ministry also has weighbridges at Gilgil, Webuye and Isbania which are static and Thika Road, Mai-Mahiu, Eldoret, Malaba, Busia, Kisumu and Mtwapa, which are mobile weighbridges.

The government has in the past established mobile weighbridges and others on main transit routes for random checks and monitoring purposes as one way of enforcing axle load limits.

However congestion has been experienced in these stations as most of the provided parking spaces have been inadequate, thus the urgent need for the setting up of the ‘weigh-in motion’.

However, with the level of compliance having gone up by about 90 percent, the PS observed that this would mean that only about 10 percent of the total volume of vehicles would be weighed, further reducing the traffic jam.

The idea of outsourcing the management of axle load control has been suggested, but it remains to be seen whether the government will heed this call to bring in the private sector.

Eng Kamau, who spoke during a European Commission media workshop on infrastructure, underscored the importance of the full utilisation of the study saying it would not only ensure a long-lasting road network but would also play a key role in increasing trade volumes between Kenya and other countries in the East African region. It would also enhance regional integration, he added.

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The PS stated that the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) which is meant to manage and maintain all road works on class A, B, C and other rural paved roads would take up its role as the implementing agency beginning July 1.

KeNHA together with the Kenya Urban Roads Authorities and the Kenya Rural Roads Authority are expected to reduce bureaucratic procedures and improve efficiency in the roads sub-sector.

During the workshop, Eng Kamau revealed that the country now has a road network of 12,000 kilometres that has been upgraded to the bitumen standards.

The government plans to construct and upgrade 64,500 km of roads in the next five years at a cost of Sh186 billion.

Also present at the function was the Head of European Commission in Kenya Eric Van Der Linden, who said that they would provide 21.25 million Euros for the improvement of 80kms of infrastructure in Central province and a similar amount for the construction of five missing links in Nairobi.

The EC has pledged its support to transport infrastructure in a bid to improve the country’s state of connectivity, which remains very low.

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