Why Outer Ring road is unsafe for users
When President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Sh8.5 billion Outer Ring Road project in January 2015, expectations were high. The notorious traffic jam that characterised the Eastern side of the city would be a thing of the past. The 13km-stretch was an answered prayers for many residents.
Kenya Urban Road Authority Director General Silas Kinoti, termed the improved and modern Outer Ring Road as a ‘game changer’.
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“With completion of outstanding works including key road furniture, the road will be a masterpiece with optimised use of resources for quality works executed timely and public getting value for money in the project,” said Kinoti.
But the lofty pictures painted of the project has turned to be a nightmare to the residents. In the absence of footbridges, it has turned out to be a highway of death. Pedestrians and motorists have been left to find alternative routes through dangerous construction sites. Public service vehicles have to deal with missing link roads, pick-up points and lack of service lanes.
“This costly project has fallen far below our expectation. It does not look anything like the original design and even close,” said Silas Khasindu, a Buru Buru resident.
A ride on the expense stretch illustrates why the residents are an unhappy lot. Many have been forced to jump over guard rails and drainage trenches while crossing the road. Without proper signage for link roads, any wrong turn forces a motorist to go a longer distance before they get to a turning.
“If one is heading to the turn at Donholm, one has to drive many kilometres past Taj Mall before getting another turn. There is neither a U-turn nor a link road in the entire stretch,” said Peter Mbugua, a driver.
He says if one misses the link at Manyanja Road, one has to drive all the way to Kangundo Road roundabout for a turn.
Matatus pick and drop passengers along the road especially at Taj Mall, Mutindwa and Baba Dogo, leading to traffic jams and frequent accidents.
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“Where do you want us to stop? Where do we pick passengers coming from Fedha and Pipeline estates?” asked a tout working for the Embasava Sacco.
Where there is service lane but no parking space like Allsops, heavy commercial vehicles take up the lanes for loading, forcing other motorists to use what is left.
The situation is the same from Huruma to Kariobangi round-about. Combined with this, the four lanes on Outer Ring Road converge to only two, as it joins Thika Superhighway, causing massive traffic jam.