, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – The Nairobi County Government has partnered with the Central Government in a Sh400 million initiative aimed at decongesting the Kenyan capital.
The plan includes elimination of roundabouts and replacing them with signalised junctions on the county’s main roads.
Speaking during the signing of the agreement on Monday, County Transport Executive Abdullahi Muhamed revealed that plans are underway to remove six roundabouts from Kangemi all the way to Mombasa road to eliminate obstruction which cause traffic jams.
He pointed out that there will be no right turns at the Westlands and Bunyala road intersections once the roundabouts are removed.
“On any given day, you can only process traffic from one given direction. We want to now upgrade this into a signalised junction so that at any given time, you have something that enables you to have simultaneous movement. If you are coming down from Serena and want to go towards Mombasa road, we are telling you that you can be able to do that while at the same time processing traffic that is leaving Kenyatta Avenue going to Waiyaki way,” he stated.
“If you are going into Westlands, we are giving you options to get there. There is a u-turn at Brookside and then I think there are two junctions before you get to the roundabout. There is a bus terminus at the Westlands roundabout. There is a lot of obstruction that goes on there and we will limit the time a PSV uses to pick up and drop passengers,”
He explained that the same will apply for the Bunyala roundabout where there will be no right turn for motorists.
“When you come further down into Bunyala roundabout, we want to kill the right handed movement so that as much as possible we have traffic moving in two opposite directions. What we are saying is that we will ensure that anyone coming from Upper Hill is taking a left turn and going all the way up to Haile Selassie,” he said.
Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero stated that the initiative which also includes banning of licensing any new Public Service Vehicles and the banning of handcarts and trolleys from city roads will go a long way in reducing congestion and at the same time improve the country’s economy.
“Recent statistics show me that even marriages are in trouble because when people have been in traffic for a very long time, when they get back home, they are in such a foul mood that marriages certain times have tended to suffer. Nairobi as the capital city will have to undertake certain activities with Central Government and traffic management and control is such one,” he said.
“While there are already a number of ongoing initiatives and measures put in place to decongest Nairobi and its environs, the current situation is dire and calls for radical and measured action. This has informed our decision to work together with the National Government through the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure to form this taskforce on decongesting Nairobi.”
He enumerated the statistics on the number of vehicles in the Central Business District saying that it is estimated that there are now about 800,000 cars in Nairobi, a figure which has more than doubled from 330,000 counted in 2013.
He stated that the cost of congestion in Nairobi to the national economy is huge estimating it at about 1.5pc of the national GDP annually.
“A public commuter system that relies heavily on a poorly regulated road transport sector, controlled by the informal matatu trade is overstretched by increasing demand. On the other hand, the fact that transport infrastructure has not expanded in tandem with population and the spatial space occupied by the city and its environs has not helped matters,” he said.
Transport Cabinet Secretary Michaela Kamau lauded the plan saying the Central Government will offer its full support in the endeavour and the licenses of Saccos found flouting the rule will be revoked.
“The medium term is between six months plus. This will involve the improvements being made to expand the road networks, various corridors in and out of the city. Indeed, work on some of the cases is ongoing and these will be completed as soon as possible. You know we have work going on at Outering road, Mombasa Road and Waiyaki way of course with funding from the World Bank,” he stated.
In the initiative, PSVs will only be allowed five minutes at bus stops and 40 minutes at termini’s to drop and pick passengers.