Four more Thika Road footbridges tenders next month

Motorists on Thika Road. PHOTO | FILE
Motorists on Thika Road. PHOTO | FILE 

Tendering for four more Thika Road footbridges is slated for next month as the government moves to curb pedestrian fatalities along the busy superhighway.

The number of pedestrian fatalities caused by either human errors or careless driving have been on the rise since completion of the road in 2012.

Transport Secretary James Macharia told Parliament last week that the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) is set to initiate tendering for four additional footbridges along the road.

“The Kenya National Highways Authority is currently preparing tender documents for four-footbridges which will be tendered by June 2016,” he said.

Mr Macharia said the footbridges will be situated at Ruaraka, Blue Springs Hotel, Witeithie and Mang’u Road.

There are 18 footbridges along the highway with 10 others designed but yet to be constructed due to budget constraints.

Financial constraints have led KeNHA to consider floating an infrastructure bond through public private partnerships (PPPs) and concessioning of targeted roads as a way of checking the mounting infrastructure costs.

Delayed payments

The road development agency paid contractors Sh132 million in interest for delayed payments of completed works as at June 2013, leaving it in a negative working capital position. Mr Macharia appeared Thursday before the National Assembly Transport Committee following a petition by residents of Juja over increased pedestrian fatalities along the road.

The residents petitioned Parliament to compel the Ministry of Transport to build more footbridges along the highway in a bid to avert accidents.

The 21 petitioners claimed that majority of victims along the road are students from Kenyatta University (KU) and the Nairobi Institute of Business Studies (NIBS).

They requested that footbridges be build at spots such as the Gwa Kairu Crossing near KU’s Ruiru campus, the Toll Station near Theta Club, the Juja Highpoint/Ndarugu crossing point, the Bob Harrie/Nyacaba roads crossing and at Waiteithe main stage.

In February, the KeNHA announced plans to have 12 more footbridges build along the road to ease traffic snarl ups.

Motorists have been forced to slow down to allow pedestrians to cross at several sections along the highway which still have bumps and rumble strips.

The Transport ministry recently shelved plans to introduce toll stations on highways as had been planned by KeNHA after public uproar over the plans.

Mr Macharia said in an earlier interview that instead of introducing toll stations, the ministry was considering constructing double-decker roads on some of the highways.