More than 200 truck drivers who operate in Machakos County on Monday protested over increased levies by the county government.
The protesters barricaded the busy Nairobi-Mombasa road for hours causing a snarl-up that lasted for up to three hours.
The trucks that usually ferry ballast from several quarries in Mlolongo began the standoff after they were loaded for their first trip, saying the new cess that took effect Monday is exorbitant and unimaginable.
The county government has increased cess for each six-tonne lorry carrying ballast from Sh520 to Sh1500 per trip.
Levies for a 10-tonne lorry increased from Sh850 to Sh3,000 and a truck trailer to pay Sh3200 from Sh1,800.
Carrying placards, the protesters accused the county government of hiking the levies without due diligence, saying it will kick them out of business.
Strategically, the irate truck drivers and some truck owners had off loaded ballast on Mto wa Mawe bridge cutting of the busy high way.
“With the new levies, our business will not be tenable any more. We cannot afford to increase the price of the ballast to our customers.
“Roads to quarries are in pathetic condition destroying our vehicles yet the county government is inconsiderate,” said John Kamau, a truck owner operating at Mlolongo.
The truck drivers say they will not relent in pushing the county government to cede ground, claiming they are servicing bank loans for their trucks.
During the protests, motorists and passengers using Mombasa road were left stranded.
Police officers drawn from Athi River, Machakos were forced to use teargas to disperse the protesters.
Several trucks were towed to Athi River Police Station for causing obstruction.
On average 1,000 trucks ferry ballast from Mlolongo quarries to Nairobi and other nearby towns daily.
Each truck make between three to four trips in a day.
More than 5,000 people make a living from the ballast business in Mlolongo, with count government minting millions in revenue annually.
The standoff may increase the construction cost as the trucks ferry the ballast mostly on order.
The standoff continues.