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Kenha reopens section of Maai Mahiu-Narok Highway

The Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) has completed repairs to a section of road that had developed severe cracks that paralysed traffic.

Kenha temporarily closed the section on 30 April after it developed dangerous cracks.

This was a great relief for motorists, especially truck drivers, who were stranded on the closed section of road.

Most affected were trailers, which had to wait on the side of the road near Karima Centre for the duration, as there were no alternative routes, resulting in massive financial losses.

The Mai Mahiu region, within the wider Rift Valley, has also been affected by earth movements that have left parts of the land with huge cracks that have left locals in awe.

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Speaking at the scene, PS for Roads Engineer Joseph Mbugua said the repairs included the rehabilitation of the damaged section, which is six kilometres from Mai Mahiu town.

Mbugua described the road as very critical, adding that its closure had affected the flow of traffic and thousands of motorists.

The crack, he said, had cut across the road, making it dangerous for motorists to use.

“We have decided to close the road due to the cracks that cut across the road,” the authority said.

“This closure was prompted by a serious crack that appeared six kilometres from Mai Mahiu town towards Mai Mahiu, which crossed the road and made it unsafe for motorists.

Kenha said the cause of the crack has not been established, although preliminary reports attribute it to the ongoing rains.

“As Kenha embarks on rehabilitation of the affected area, all road users plying the Mai Mahiu – Narok route are advised to use alternative routes,” the authority said on Sunday.

Motorists travelling to and from the western parts of the country were forced to use alternative routes such as the main Nairobi-Naivasha highway.

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The alternative routes included; Narok – Kisiriri – Mau Summit – Njoro turn off (B18) road to connect to Nakuru and other destinations or Narok – Bomet – Kaplong (B6) road to connect to Kaplong – Kericho (B7) road.

This is not the first time the road has been closed due to suspected earth movement.

In 2018, the Narok – Mai Mahiu road developed a large crack stretching for several kilometres, which geologists said was the result of the Somali plate slowly separating from the rest of Africa.

Earlier, a section of the road, which was inaugurated by the late President Mwai Kibaki in 2011 and links Nairobi to the famous Maasai Mara National Park and Western Kenya, was washed away by floods near Suswa market.

The highway authority issued a notice urging motorists on the route to take extra care as they approached the area.

Heavy trucks over 10 tonnes were directed to use the Maai Mahiu-Naivasha route, which has now been closed.

The closure of the highway is likely to affect tourists travelling to the Maasai Mara as well as motorists travelling to Narok and western Kenya.

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