Standoff between Kiambu government and KURA stalls road works.

The struggles of motorists and pedestrians plying the BAT-Kiganjo Rd. especially during the wet seasons when it is rendered almost impassible.
Kiganjo residents in Thika West Sub-County are up in arms against the authorities over the delay in the tarmacking of the 2-Kilometre BAT-Kiganjo road and are now petitioning the both county and national governments to speed up the works.

The residents say that they have continued to endure poor roads despite the government releasing money for the construction of the 25km link roads within Thika Constituency due to an impasse between the two governments thus delaying the works and making a bad situation worse.

The works are said to have been delayed by alleged interference by the county government even though the contracts were tendered and awarded to successful bidders by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA).

They accused the county government of frustrating development projects by erecting hurdles and frustrating National Government agencies responsible for maintenance of roads.

(Related story: Thika MP commissions the construction of the Sh. 1.5bn Thika Bypasses.)

“Governor (Ferdinand) Waititu recently sent some county workers here to do some repair works on the road. The holes the dug have left the road in a worse state, leaving us with the headache of navigating through these potholes especially now that it is raining,” said John Mbuthia, a bodaboda operator and a resident of Kiganjo Estate.

“We are surprised that even though it was one of the roads earmarked for construction by KURA, it is yet to be repaired due to the stalemate,” he added.

The residents reckon that barely two days pass without an accident along that stretch of the road as motorbikes and vehicles attempt to avoid hitting these potholes.

“As bodaboda riders, we are bearing the biggest blunt of this road. If our clients get injured as we are ferrying them to their destinations, we are forced to bear the cost of their medication,” said Mbuvi Katonga, another Bodaboda operator.

The residents said that since the project is under a national government agency, Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina should mobilise KURA to proceed with its reconstruction without undue interference by the county government.

“We no longer want any more piecemeal repairs on this road. We want if it is KURA, they do the road afresh and settle this matter once and for all. And if the county government wants to do the road, let it be thorough and immediate. We are tired of begging for services and this road being used as a campaign tool to woo for votes,” said James Mburu, the chairman of Kiganjo-Makongeni Bodaboda Association.

Mburu says that has lost count of the number of times his members have been involved in accidents along the busy road as try to maneuver along the bad road.

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

One matatu driver we talked to raised concern over the increasing number of potholes that subjected their vehicles to unwarranted wear and tear, causing them and commuters to spend lengthy periods on the road, especially during peak hours.

“This is a very key road for the residents of Kiganjo but using it has become a headache for motorists and pedestrians. We are counting huge losses in repairs and maintenance of our vehicles due to the increasing number of potholes,” lamented the 2TS matatu driver.

He added that the deplorable state of the road was a concern for insecurity and really took a toll on residents in case of emergencies.
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