Shipping & Logistics

Truckers back plan for virtual weigh stations

A weighbridge. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A weighbridge. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Truckers Association of Kenya (TAK) has supported plans by the Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) to install virtual weighbridges on Kenyan roads, saying the move will boost speed and transparency on clearance of cargo on the major arteries.

The KeNHA plans to set up 10 virtual weighbridges on key transport corridors to clamp down on overloaded trucks that damage Kenyan highways.

The electronic devices expected to be operational by end of June will be located at Kibera on the Nairobi Southern By-pass, Mayoni on the Mumias-Bungoma road, Moi’s Bridge on the Eldoret-Kitale road, Ahero on the Mau Summit-Kisumu road and Mwatate on the Voi-Taveta road.

Others will be at Sagana Bridge on the Thika-Nyeri road, Arches Post on Isiolo-Moyale road, Kamulu on the Nairobi-Kangundo road Yatta on the Thika-Garissa road, and Eldama Ravine on the Ravine-Eldoret road.

“We support the whole idea behind the establishment of virtual weighing bridges on Kenyan roads. It’s the only way to curb the rising cost of road maintenance and delays in screening of vehicles,” said TAK secretary-general Kennedy Karisa.

Unlike the brick-and-motor toll stations, virtual weigh stations are able to pick records in real-time without asking the driver to slow down or stop the vehicle.

The process is initiated by a vehicle stepping on a weigh-in-motion sensor.

The weighing data will automatically be recorded and vehicle’s details captured through a combination of image and automatic number recognition cameras.

“The data that we get will be able to assist us for planning purposes because from the virtual stations, we’ll be able to get all the traffic that goes through a particular point,” said Mr Ngatia.

Kenya currently uses static scale weighbridges to help rid roads of overloaded vehicles.

There are nine static weigh-bridges located at Athi-River, Mtwapa, Mariakani, Webuye, Gilgil, Juja, Rongo Isinya and Bondo.

There are also high-speed weigh-in motion weighbridges in Gilgil and Webuye which are fully automated.

The facilities have become notorious for frequent delays and gridlocks, often inviting the wrath of neighbouring landlocked countries which rely on the Port of Mombasa.

Also, police officers have often been accused of collecting bribes to allow overloaded trucks to proceed.