Bypass construction starts without approval from environmental body
Posted Sunday, February 8 2009 at 14:30
- Northern bypass, connecting Thika and Limuru Roads, to go on before the Govt has complied with environmental laws.
- Two 70-kilometre roads bypass central district of Nairobi to ease traffic congestion in the city’s roads,
Construction of the Sh8.6 billion Northern and Eastern road bypasses starts Monday.
But before the contractors get on with their work, the Ministry of Roads will first demolish structures and all the other developments identified for removal where the two bypass cross.
The two 70-kilometre roads bypass Nairobi Central Business District, to ease traffic congestion in the city’s roads, which has been a nightmare.
However, construction of the Northern bypass, which connect Thika Road with Limuru Road will go on before the Government has complied with the environmental laws.
According to the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) Chief corporate communications manager, Mrs Ruth Musembi, they are yet to give Roads ministry a license to embark on the project.
Before embarking on such a project, Nema has to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the area first.
And if area residents where the road is traversing raises environmental or social issues, which may be affected by the construction, the law says that such concerns must be addressed first.
So, when Nema went to conduct an EIA, residents of Runda Estate and Githogoro village said the Northern bypass – passes through a seasonal wetland valley that feeds into Karura Forest.
“What we have been waiting for is a public hearing for the issue to be addressed,” Mrs Musembi who spoke to Nation by telephone said.
But the Roads ministry through their public relations officer, Ms Rachel Keino said they have decided to do away with the public hearings.
“The contractor is already on site and construction work will have to start”, Ms Keino said.
Runda Estate runs through the wetland and the residents want it redirected to the northern side where soils are more suitable for a road construction.
The Roads ministry had given notice to owners of the structures to remove them, which expires today, Sunday
In the notice dated January 26, which was published in one of the dailies, the owners have been asked to remove all the “illegal structures and developments on the road reserves” for the constriction work to start.
"The structures will have to be demolished," Ms Keino said.
Asked why the ministry is skipping the hearings, as the environmental law requires, Ms Keino who spoke after consulting with senior ministry officials said:
“These people (structure owners) had been given adequate notice and the contractor is already on site and the project has to start.”