Engineer Daniel Cherono of the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) confirmed that their staff were working overtime to ensure the busy highway is re-opened on Saturday.
“Initially we had anticipated that the road would be opened to traffic by the end of Friday but based on the size of the section we are supposed to fill we are now expecting to open it on Saturday,” said the engineer.
A statement from the Kenya National Highways Authority later on Saturday stated that: “Our goal is to restore the section of the road and allow small vehicles to use it as we continue monitoring the situation. We expect to complete the works within 24 hours, if the weather condition remains favourable.”
The statement further said that: “The road therefore remains closed. We are not providing a diversion as we are not certain about the condition of the ground adjacent to the road.”
“We have been able to open up the crack; it appeared small but on opening it we realised that it was six meters deep and about four meters wide.
Currently we are filling the excavation with rocks and compacting it. We shall then put a layer of concrete to strengthen the works, as well as allow the water run off to flow,” the statement sought to assure road users of progress.
The road was closed indefinitely following the appearance of cracks, believed to be caused by weak underlying volcanic soil being washed away by heavy rains.
Last week, a section of the Mai Mahiu- Narok road was washed away by floods near Suswa market.
KeNHA has advised motorists not to use the Mai Mahiu-Narok road until further notice.
“In the meantime, vehicles bound for western parts of the country can use the Mai Mahiu-Naivasha road or, the main Nairobi-Nakuru (A109) road.
Motorists from Narok coming to Nairobi can use the Bomet-Kericho-Nakuru route,’ read the KeNHA statement.
Businessmen who use the highway expressed deep concern over the losses they are incurring after the road was cut off.
“That portion of the road was like a shortcut and now that it has been destroyed, now we have to take longer to get to our destinations,” a driver plying the route said.
“As a businessman, I am now taking long in my journey and this is affecting me as customers cannot wait for their goods which take a while to deliver. The best thing that can happen is for the road to be repaired as quickly as possible so that we can get back to our businesses,” a businessman stated.
Passengers and Public Service Vehicle operators devised an ingenious method of dealing with the inconvenience occasioned by the destruction of the busy Mai Mahiu – Narok road by a crack.
Passengers to and from Nairobi are being dropped off just a few metres from the section of destroyed road whereupon they find their way across it to be picked up by other vehicles before proceeding with their journey.
They are urging the government to ensure that the busy highway is repaired as soon as possible so that they can resume normal operations.
“Before the road was closed, we were using about six hours to travel but now we using about seven or eight hours for the same journey,” they pointed out.
Public transport operators however said they will not increase their fares.
“If we now increase our fares then we will also affect or customers so we are leaving them as they are so as to maintain them,” said a driver on the route.