KURA May Demolish Buildings To Pave Way For BAT-Kiganjo Road Construction.

KURA Chief Corporate Communication Officer John Cheboi addressing members of public at Kiang'ombe Social Hall during a forum to discuss the proposed Thika Bypasses. With him is Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina.
About a dozen buildings along Oloitiptip road (BAT-Kiganjo) could be demolished in a new construction plan are earmarked to free Thika town from traffic congestion.

The properties to be affected are in Makongeni and Kiganjo especially near the Kamenu Makongeni Stage.

Responding to questions from stakeholders during the 6th Thika Bypass public participation forum in Kiang’ombe Social Hall, Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) Chief Corporate Communication Officer John Cheboi said that any construction on road corridors will be marked and the owner asked to give way for road construction.

“KURA will not compensate anyone who has encroached on road reserves. Once we give these people a formal notice to vacate, we do not expect them to delay the road construction otherwise the government will forcefully pull down these buildings at their cost,” said Cheboi.

The Chairperson of the 800 member Thika Mwalimu Housing Sacco Readeani Ndaani had sought clarification from KURA on the exact route-map as part of the original survey indicated that the current BAT-Kiganjo road had been changed to pass through their 100-acre parcel of land.

“We bought this land in 1998 and according to the map in Survey of Kenya, this road cuts through our land. We are there requesting you to avoid the same mistake and relocate the road where it is supposed to be as per the map,” said Ndaani.

Ndaani continued to say that a lot of the buildings along that road had been built on road reserve, forcing the contractor who did the current road to push it about 20 metres to the East.

In the past, several demolitions of buildings have been carried out to pave way for road construction in the country. In November 2008, giant retailer Nakumatt supermarket in Thika Road was demolished and thereafter lost over half a billion shillings worth of stock.

Cheboi explained that the bypass had put into consideration all road users and upon completion, it will address the decade old traffic menace in Thika.

“The construction of these roads will include a non-motorised cycle lane, pedestrian footpaths, drainage and street lighting in a bid to cater for all the road users,” he said.

(Related story: Government allocates KES. 1.5B for link roads to ease Thika traffic.)

Thika MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina warned that he will not tolerate any arbitrary misuse of public money during the project and called on the contractor to be awarded to work with speed to complete the job.

He added that, as a condition, local residents should be given priority in both the tendering and the construction works.

“We will resist foreigners from being given preference over locals and I am encouraging local contractors to lobby for the tenders once they are floated. Otherwise, this does not mean that we will condone shoddy work or theft of public resources. No! Let us believe in ourselves and work for the best interest of our people,” said the MP. 
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