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Thika road will have 12 more footbridges

Thursday February 4 2016

A footbridge near the gate to Kenyatta University. About 12 more footbridges will soon be added to the current 18 along Thika Superhighway to ease traffic snarl-ups. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A footbridge near the gate to Kenyatta University. About 12 more footbridges will soon be added to the current 18 along Thika Road to ease traffic jams PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NGARE KARIUKI
By NGARE KARIUKI
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About 12 more footbridges will soon be added to the current 18 along Thika Road to ease traffic jams at various spots where bumps are yet to be removed.

Motorists may also begin paying tolls on the highway “in the near future” after a feasibility study currently under way.

The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has contracted a transaction adviser funded through the World Bank to carry out the study.

KeNHA Maintenance Manager Njuguna Gatitu said the tolling service would be carried out under the public private partnership, which will fund the improvement of the highway by building footbridges and electrifying the road to improve safety.

“This is in a bid to reduce road accidents drastically along the highway, which has in recent past been marred with motorists’ deaths due to unscrupulous driving,” he said on Wednesday.

Several sections along the highway still have bumps and rumble strips meant to slow down traffic to allow for pedestrians to cross.

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Some of the crossing spots that are yet to get footbridges, such as near Survey of Kenya, have become notorious for snarl-ups during morning and evening rush hours.

The spots proposed for footbridges include the Mang’u exit, Toll Plaza Highrise, Kenya Clayworks, Premier Academy and Blue Springs.

Mr Gatitu added that most of the vandalised street lights along the highway have been reinstalled, with lots 1, 2, and 3 being completed at the moment.

“We have also completed the rehabilitation of lights on the footbridges ensuring the lights are securely installed into welded casings and cable passed inside the steel structure of the footbridge,” noted Mr Gatitu.

REMOVE SPEED BUMPS

The plans to install more footbridges come just months after Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko went to court seeking to have the speed bumps along the highway removed.

Through lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, Mr Sonko said the bumps had become a traffic nuisance as they end up causing unreasonable congestion at peak hours.

The Thika Superhighway is currently under a performance-based maintenance contract awarded to Intex Synohydro for a period of two years.

The contract entails routine and emergency maintenance alongside other services such as user and operation services, which are principally concerned with enhancing the comfort, convenience and safety of road users.

This has seen regular route patrols and ambulance, breakdown rescue and other emergency services used in safeguarding motorists using the highway.

Under the maintenance contract, which ends this year, a cleaning truck does daily rounds, and vandalised pedestrian rails and damaged guardrails along the highway are fixed.

Also noticeable along Murang’a Road is the installation of razor wire to deter pedestrians from crossing the road at non-designated areas and instead compelling them to use the footbridge at Ngara.

There are fewer illegal advertisements on the highway, with more than 800 unauthorised signs along the corridor having been removed.