City motorists endure traffic jams as Thika Road bumps remain
Speed bumps remain on Thika Superhighway despite the expiry of a two-month window within which government agencies were to flatten them.
Justice George Odunga had on February 7 given the Ministry of Transport and the Nairobi City County 60 days to remove the bumps and rumble strips near the Survey of Kenya offices and Kenya breweries plant in Ruaraka.
The State agencies involved have maintained defeaning silence on the matter.
The order was issued in a case filed by Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko in 2015. Mr Sonko now wants the relevant agencies cited for contempt of court following the delay in executing the order.
CONTEMPT OF COURT
“We are moving to file contempt of court charges against the agencies,” said the Mr Sonko in an interview.
In his ruling, Judge Odunga said that there was no rationale for erecting rumble strips and bumps yet footbridges were available. He said that the Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) was legally obligated to remove the “offending” strips and bumps, and the county mandated with facilitating the process.
Responding to questions on Tuesday, KeNHA director-general Peter Mundinia said that the agency was not involved in the matter and directed journalists to the Ministry of Transport and county authorities.
Neither the ministry nor the county responded to our queries.
The failure to remove the bumps comes on the backdrop of increasingly tedious traffic jams across the crucial highway.
Traffic jam builds up starts as early as 6am with the tailbacks stretching several kilometres, they said.
JAM GETTING WORSE
“The jam is getting worse. You have to wake up so early, it is almost the way it used to be before the road was expanded,” said Ms Rhoda Okello who uses the road every day.
Although there are other factors contributing to the snarl-ups, in his case, Mr Sonko had argued that the closure of roundabouts in the city centre and the erection of bumps along the highway had resulted in huge traffic snarl-ups and accused the county government of failing to provide alternative routes.
Judge Odunga ordered the Nairobi County government and Mr James Macharia, Transport secretary, to foot the bill for removing the bumps. The two parties, he directed, should also ensure that pedestrians use the already provided footbridges.
The judge also took the agencies to task for failing to take into consideration public opinion in setting up the speed bumps on the road.
“Where it becomes necessary for members of the public to be inconvenienced, the public ought to be notified in good time and the approximate period for the said inconvenience stated,” argued Judge Odunga.
“Those tasked with the management of the roads in this country are obliged to ensure proper signage and inform road users of the state of roads so they can make informed decisions in good time.”
The judge said the periods of inconvenience must be absolutely necessary so that the Constitution is not violated.