, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 15 – The main Mombasa-Nairobi Highway was closed at Athi River late Thursday due to heavy floods that washed away the bridge at Stoni Athi area causing traffic stretching tens of kilometers.
The Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA) issued a statement urging motorists on the highway to use alternative routes through Kangundo because Athi River is impassable.
The stretch between Athi River and the Machakos turn-off is affected.
“The public is advised that following an extreme rainfall event, the water level at Stoni Athi Bridge on the A8 between Athi River and Kyumvi (Machakos Turnoff) has risen above deck level,” the statement reads.
Traffic police have been deployed to the area on both sides to direct traffic following the congestion caused by the flooded bridge.
“The bridge is therefore closed to traffic for safety reasons until water levels recede. The situation is being monitored constantly and the public will be advised promptly of developments,” KENHA said, and advised that an “alternative route is Konza- Katumani – Machakos – Roma – Ruai – Cabanas.”
Motorists already in the vicinity of the Stoni Athi Bridge on A8 were advised to vacate the area by turning back to use alternative routes or temporarily defer the trip.
The heavy rains have caused deaths and devastating effects across the country.
At least seven deaths were reported in flash floods since Wednesday as heavy rains continue to pound various parts of the country.
In Kitui, five people on a lorry ferrying charcoal were swept away by raging waters while crossing a river.
Two others were swept away in Narok and Mwingi on Tuesday, with police saying some deaths may have gone unreported elsewhere in the country.
In Nairobi, Narok, Kajiado, and Nakuru heavy floods have rendered major roads impassable and even disrupted learning in schools which remain flooded since Wednesday night.
Several residential estates in the capital Nairobi, among them South C, Parklands, Westlands and Green Park in Athi River were flooded and many schools were closed.
In Narok, the Kenya National Highways Authority said it had repaired the road to Mai Mahiu that was cut off after sections of the road caved in, but advised motorists to be cautious due to floods in the area.