The diversion of heavy vehicles onto the Southern Bypass is helping ease congestion on the Mombasa road section of the A109 leading into Nairobi.
County government officials add that other motorists are also using the bypass, part of a Sh17.1 billion project, to avoid entering the town centre.
According to Nairobi County Transport Executive Mohamed Abdullahi, the opening of the road has created options for drivers who need to access other parts of Nairobi without having to pass through the central business district.
“The re-opening of the Southern bypass is not only for the heavy commercial vehicles but has also attracted smaller vehicles going to Karen, Ngong’ and Kikuyu,” Mr Abdullahi said.
The Nairobi county government recently issued a directive barring all vehicles above 18 tonnes from using the sections of the A109 (Mombasa-Nairobi) and A104 (Nairobi-Nakuru) roads that run through the city.
A mid-morning spot check by Business Daily on the otherwise busy road indicated improvements in the flow of traffic, taking this writer and his team less 20 minutes to get from from Ole Sereni hotel, where the A104 and the bypass meet, to the Central Business District (CBD). The same journey would previously have taken twice or thrice that time.
When asked whether the city is planning to re-introduce temporary barriers at key roundabouts, Mr Abdullahi said they are “observing the situation” and would decide on the ‘Kidero drums’ depending on how traffic flow fares.
He, however, confirmed that plans to remove all roundabouts within major highways and replace them with traffic lighting systems are in progress.
“We are currently reviewing the designs after which we will share them with the stakeholders and, thereafter, develop an implementation plan. These works are supposed to be complete within three months,” he added.
Motorists have welcomed the move to open the bypass saying that it is shorter and has less traffic. Drivers of heavy vehicles are, however, calling for the entire road to be tarmacked saying an incomplete section that was graded before the reopening would soon be ruined by the weight of their lorries.
Meanwhile, motorists headed into Kenya’s main international airport Monday reported massive traffic tailbacks at the facility’s new multi-lane screening yard. This is despite the fact that the recently opened 16-lane yard was built to speed up screening of vehicles entering the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
Many tied the congestion to “manual security procedures” allegedly being used and posted photos of police searching car boots on social media. We have not yet established whether this was instead of or in addition to using the automated car scanners that are part of the new facility.
Matters are being made worse by motorists unfamiliar with directions to the newly opened Terminal 2, which handles some domestic and international flights.
At about 5pm EAT, there were reports of a broken down heavy vehicle at the overpass on the A109 (Mombasa road) where the road leading to the Airport begins.
Source: Business Daily