For decades, Salgaa has hit headlines because of grisly road accidents witnessed at the blackspot.
Mention of the area sends shivers down the spine of many motorists who use the Nakuru-Eldoret highway.
For road users, the Salgaa stretch is nothing to write home about. But the breezing air is pregnant perhaps with ghosts of death resting there.
Accidents along the 10km stretch from Salgaa trading centre to Kibunja have claimed hundreds of lives and maimed many. But soon road carnage at the notorious blackspot will be a thing of the past.
The Government through the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has allocated Sh748 million for rehabilitation of the stretch.
According to KeNHA, the emergency road safety enhancement along the stretch-will begin at Kabarak Junction-to Salgaa trading centre and end at Kibunja.
The Authority’s assistant director-corporate communication Charles Njogu said work has begun along the stretch that will be converted to a dual carriageway at the 10km climbing lane section.
“The construct has been awarded to M/s China Railway No. 10 Engineering Company Limited at a cost of 748 Million,” he said during a media briefing.
The work is fully financed by the Government via the Fuel Levy Fund. “In 12 months we expect the project to have been completed,” he said.
The works include construction of minimum three emergency runaway truck rump, a lorry brakes temperature checking point and holding yard in Kibunja, the dual carriageway, widening of the Nyajanja Kamara bridge capacity to dual, erection of standard speed bumps and rubble strips to slow down motorists.
“The project also involves road marking and erection of cat-eye reflectors to enhance visibility, road signs including informatory and warning signs and repair and installation of guardrails,” said the official.
Motorists have welcomed the project saying dualling of Nairobi-Nakuru–Mau Summit road under public private partnership contract will ensure the entire road capacity and safety is improved.
“It is one of Kenya’s most notorious road section that has left bitter memories to several families after it claimed lives of their loved ones. I lost a relative here in December last year and whenever I use this stretch, memories of what happened flood back,” said Jared Okeyo, a motorist.
Several factors-not limited to the design of the road- the sharp corners, foggy weather and the speeding trailers freewheeling along the stretch have been blamed for the accidents.
The spate of accidents witnessed late year forced authorities to enforce strict speed limits and erect road signs warning motorists of the blackspot.
Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the dual carriageway on the Salgaa stretch will reduce accidents.
“The reduction of crashes will also change the bad name Salgaa has earned because of deaths and injuries,” he added.