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Thika highway Chinese-welded footbridges ready next month

Nairobians jostle for space on Ngara footbridge
Nairobians jostle for space on Ngara footbridge in the past. PHOTO | JAMES KARIUKI | NMG 

The Sh800 million Thika Superhighway footbridges being welded in China will be ready next month after close to two years of waiting.

The Kenya National Highways Authority now says the four structures, which have been in the plan for the highway since August 2017, will now be complete by August to boost pedestrian safety.

Bumps had to be erected to slow down traffic. KeNHA assistant director for corporate communications, Mr Charles Njogu, said the project will start next month with the first two to be located at Witeithie (around Thika) and the other near Mangu School.

“The first two will be done next month since most of the concrete work is done. They are coming already precast so fixing them should take a short time. There was no local firm with the capacity to weld that kind of metal work and that is why they were done in China,” Mr Njogu said.

The other two, to be set up around the Survey of Kenya (just before the junction to the Kenya School of Monetary Studies) and the Garden Estate Junction, will be ready in August.

High Court order

Pedestrians have been facing a safety hazard since the concrete works meant to hold the footbridges have been fenced off with iron sheets, making the areas difficult to cross.

KeNHA revealed the plans to set up the footbridges in August 2017 after Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko promised city residents that he would remove all speed bumps on the road.

The bumps, which were blamed for slowing down traffic on the highway, was the subject of a February 2017 High Court order that wanted them removed in 60 days. They were modified instead, to await the setting up of the footbridges.

Outering Road

Interways Works Limited, which was awarded the contract for the project in March last year, will put up the Witeithie and Mang’u footbridges at a cost of Sh430 million, while Fourway Construction Limited is building the Survey of Kenya and Garden City ones at a cost of Sh390 million.

The timelines for completing them have been shifting with KeNHA director-general, Peter Mundinia, having said they were to be ready in March.

The move will now see a smoother flow of traffic with the bumps at Survey of Kenya, Homeland, and Kenya Breweries set to be removed in compliance with the 2017 High Court Order.

Road accident deaths increased by eight per cent to 3,153 in 2018, while the number of persons who sustained serious injuries increased by 18.5 per cent over the same period, according to the Economic Survey Report 2019.

Pedestrians bear the worst impact in road accidents, according to statistics from the National Transport and Safety Authority.

As of Thursday last week, 453 pedestrians had died from road accidents compared to 410 over the same period last year.

The Kenya Urban Roads Authority is also racing against time to complete footbridges along the Sh8.5 billion Outering Road as pedestrians crossing the road have been blamed for slowing down traffic.

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