EXPOSED! Encroachment on Kenyatta Highway the reason for Thika’s traffic jams.

Hospital Ward MCA Mwangi Wamwangi alias J BEE addressing participants at a stakeholders’ consultative meeting with Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) at the Umoja Social Hall to discuss the proposed construction of the Thika Bypass on Wednesday. 
The encroachment of road reserves and grabbing of pathways has been identified as the main cause of traffic snarl-ups in Thika Town.

This was revealed at a stakeholders’ consultative meeting with Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) at the Umoja Social Hall to discuss the proposed construction of the Thika Bypass.

Speaking at the forum, Hospital ward MCA Mwangi Wamwangi alias J BEE explained how former leaders in the defunct Thika Municipal Council colluded with unscrupulous investors to grab land along Kenyatta Highway, thus diverting its original route leading to congestion on internal roads within the town.

J BEE said that original maps at the local authority show that vehicles destined for Nairobi are supposed to leave the town via Section 9 Estate and pass next to St. David’s Academy where they turned left to join the Thika Superhighway at the old underpass on the flyover near Ngoingwa Estate.

However, along this pathway stands high-rise flats, as the land was grabbed and sold to real estate developers, some of whom are unaware that their multi-million investments are sitting on a roadway.

“Some of those very beautiful houses you see in Section 9 near the flyover are sitting on Kenyatta Highway. According to the original plan, no vehicle is supposed to exit Thika town from the Gatitu junction. That section of Kenyatta Highway was designated as an entry point from Nairobi only,” explained the MCA.

J BEE added that the same scenario applied to the same highway as it joined Garissa Road near Kivulini in Kisii Estate.

He explained that the Kenyatta Highway was designed to go straight past Thika Cloth Mills, through to Bhupco Ltd, pass behind Broadways Bakery and Matharao slums. It was then to cut through the Del Monte-BAT road on its way through Umoja Estate and Gachagi Slums to eventually branch to 
Garissa Highway at Leather Industries Ltd.

“Kenyatta Highway does not branch at the UTI junction near Pilot Estate. That part that people refer to as the highway was meant to be a feeder road to serve companies like Broadway Bakeries, Nampak and Kenya Nuts Ltd., either as they join Garissa Road near Engen Petrol Station or as they get to town via Kenyatta Highway,” he said.

In this section of the road, there is a wall erected next to Matharao Slums that has completely blocked the road’s path. Some of the developments in Umoja Estate, Gachagi Slums and the playing field purported to belong to Leather Industries Ltd. are said to be on the road reserve.

Meanwhile, participants at the meeting heard that plans were at an advanced stage to construct the Thika Bypass whose idea was to de-congest Thika Town.

According to the designs presented by KURA, the bypass would exit the Nairobi-Murang’a Highway at the Del Monte shop near Thika Sports Club, run through the company’s farm, branch towards Makongeni Estate near its factory offices to join Garissa Road at the BAT junction.

The proposed design of the Thika Bypass whose construction is targeted for early next year to take two years of completion.
KURA Ag. Director General Eng. S.M. Kinoti said that the construction works are scheduled to begin early 2018 and go on for the next two years. It was revealed that this road had earlier been planned to start co-currently with the one at Kivulini but its programme got delayed due to financial and logistical constraints.

This consultative meeting is the first of several others that the authority plans to hold with the members of public before the actual construction of the bypass begins. This is geared towards ironing out any contentious issues involving its constructions in good time in order to avoid any impediments once the work begins.

Similar meetings will be conducted with affected residents living across River Chania on the Murang’a County side of the border.
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