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Drivers Fume as KeNHA Blocks Usage of Chania Footbridge by vehicles.

The situation on Haile Selassie Road on Saturday afternoon after the blockage of the Chania footbridge by KeNHA. 
Motorist getting out of Thika town got a rude shock on Saturday when the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) officials blocked the usage of the Chania footbridge sighting potential danger as a result of vehicles accessing the Thika superhighway via the bridge.

Drivers getting out of town through the now famous “Baba Yao Mama Tena” exit road had to drive all the way to the Thika flyover near Ngoingwa Estate to access the Murang’a-bound lane of the superhighway unlike initially when they just made a U-Turn across River Chania using the bridge.

KeNHA deployed its workers early Saturday morning and erected concrete road stock barriers to prevent any vehicle from using that part of the bridge. 

The motorist bemoaned the return of horrendous traffic problems especially during rush hours which they said had been a thing of the past since the opening of the exit road.

While explaining the reason behind the closure, a KeNHA official who spoke on anonymity since he is unauthorised to speak on behalf of the authority said that the bridge had not been designed to carry heavy weight thus its usage by vehicles would endanger road users as it was likely to collapse eventually.

“This bridge cannot hold heavy machinery since it has been designed for pedestrians and such engines as motorcycles. We have opted to take this action to avert any disaster that may be caused by carrying heavy loads,” said the official.

He went ahead to explain that the bridge was under their jurisdiction and therefore they could not just sit back and watch motorists, not only endanger themselves, other road users and pedestrians but also cause massive disruption to infrastructure. 

“Each bridge is considered on its merits taking into account safety, economic and environmental factors. It is not a wonder to get lorry drivers get wedged in these rail guards as they try to beat the jam using this bridge. These restrictions are subject to our traffic rules and regulations that restrict the use of a road, route or area to certain vehicles and we cannot allow anyone to bleach them,” he added.

The official said that, if aggrieved, the residents through their elected leaders, were free to petition KeNHA so that they could map up a comprehensive solution to the whole issue without endangering the lives of people.

“You can still talk to  to our head office and discuss how best you can solve this issue. Otherwise, using the bridge in its current state for vehicles is out of question for you are the same people who will come for our necks when disaster strikes,” he concluded.

When we sought the views of motorists, some of them saw a political hand in the decision by KeNHA.

“This is purely political sabotage to discredit the efforts by Baba Yao. This exits has brought to an end the horrendous traffic snarl-ups that were synonymous in Thika town. Someone just wants to see him fail for political expedience and we will not allow this,” said one irate motorist.

True to his words, traffic had begun building up as early as 3 p.m. when we were on site. Vehicles getting out of town via Haile Selassie Road had snaked all the way from Chania Girls High school’s gate and the situation seemed to worsen as more vehicles headed upcountry for the weekend. 

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