A student drowned and flood waters washed away parts of the Narok-Mai Mahiu road yesterday.
The road was closed after heavy rain triggered a flash flood that swept away almost one kilometre of the busy highway, rendering it impassable.
Hundreds of passengers spent the night in the cold after the busy road was cut-off near Karima trading centre in Mai Mahiu.
The student was said to have been killed and three others were rescued when they were swept away by the floods in the Mai Mahiu-Naivasha area. Reports indicated that several others were uncounted for.
The three, from Governors Secondary School, were rescued by their colleagues and rushed to Naivasha sub-county hospital.
Trail of destruction
Area Chief Zachariah Igeria, said the heavy rains started at midday on Tuesday afternoon, leaving a trail of destruction on farms and homes around the area.
He said flash floods first swept through the secondary school, carrying away students who were on their way home.
“Three students were rescued soon after the incident. We have recovered one body but do not know the fate of the others. A search operation has started around the area,” he said.
The floods also swept away livestock.
The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) advised motorists to take alternative routes.
"KeNHA would like to alert all motorists plying the Mai Mahiu-Suswa-Narok road that a section of the road has developed a fault line stretching 700 metres, thus completely cutting the road off," the authority said in a statement.
The agency advised motorists going to Bomet, Kisii, and their environs to use the Nakuru-Kericho–Kaplong road, while those travelling to Nairobi from Narok were advised to use the Narok-Nakuru-Nairobi road.
The rains paralysed learning in schools in the area as many students stayed home.
“Currently all the roads in the area are impassable and we are asking for quick intervention from the State so that normal life can resume,” said one resident, Tabitha Waithera.
For hundreds of motorists and their passengers, the rains brought well-planned journeys to an abrupt end.
“Our driver has ruled out seeking another route," said Nancy Maobe, who was travelling to Kisii with her two children.
Some, though cold, said they were grateful to be alive.
“Some passengers in a car were rescued just on time," said Peter Tobiko
Others, like lorry driver Jackson Kimemia, who was ferrying beef products from Nairobi to Bomet, were counting their losses because their cargo was perishable.
The PS for infrastructure in the Ministry of Transport, Julius Korir, visited the scene and said he expected the road to be opened by today.
“We have a contractor on the scene at the moment and plans are underway to construct a half-kilometre overpass to permanently address this problem,” he said.
Korir added that a bypass had been created near the affected scene so that motorists heading to Narok and Mai Mahiu were not inconvenienced.
KeNHA Director-General Peter Mundinia said volcanic soils in the area had escalated the damage.
“We are looking at redesigning the road in future so that we can resolve this perennial problem,” he said.