Buildings on road reserves to be brought down to pave way for Thika bypasses

Thika MP Patrick Wainaina (in cap) goes through a map together with officials from KURA during a field survey to identify a road corridor where two upcoming bypasses will be constructed. [Kamau Maichuhie, Standard]
Scores of landlords in Makongeni and Kiganjo estates in Thika are staring at incurring huge losses after it merged that their houses have been built on road reserves.

During a field survey by officials of Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA),to identify a road corridor where two upcoming bypasses will be constructed, details emerged some houses have been built on road reserves.

The Government has set aside Sh1.5 billion for construction of two bypasses in Thika town.

The first phase will see the 10km bypass starting from Garissa road through Kivulini-Kisii-Kiganjo-Athena-Witeithie to ThikaSuper highway constructed.

The second phase will see the 15km from Kenyatta Highway through Munene industries-UTI-Pilot-Umoja-Kenyatta leather to Garissa road put up.

During the field survey, KURA surveyors and engineers said after inspection have found out that some houses built from Umoja Primary school to Makongeni and from British American Tubacco (BAT) to Kiganjo estate have encroached on road reserves.

The officials said some of the houses built along the BAT-Kiganjo road stand on road reserve where one of the bypasses is meant to pass.

They issued directives to the landlords to bring down the structures before they do it themselves.

Thika MP Patrick Wainaina who accompanied the team from KURA called on investors who had allegedly grabbed road reserves to remove any strictures they may have constructed in order to pave way for the roads construction.

Mr Wainaina said he was shocked to find so many people had encroached on the road reserves, something he said would have a ripple effect on the upcoming bypasses construction works.

He warned that failure to adhere to directive, the agency will have no alternative but to pull down all the houses and any other structures standing on road reserve.

The MP however appealed to KURA to first issue formal notices to all those affected instructing them to remove the structures after the survey works are complete.

“I know it will be painful but public good supersedes individual interests. Let’s look at the bigger picture and appreciate that these roads will be of benefit to so many people including all those who are affected,” said Wainaina.

The lawmaker said he was optimistic that BAT-Kiganjo road will be complete within the next 6 months and appealed for patience from the residents.

He commended the Government for setting aside the budget to construct the two bypasses, saying they were long overdue.

Mr Wainaina said with the two roads will help open up Thika town, which is Kiambu County’s main industrial hub.

He said by the virtue of being the biggest industrial hub in the county, Thika town deserved to enjoy proper infrastructure.

“The new roads will no doubt have a huge social economic impact in Thika town and its environs. As residents, we feel their construction have come at the right time since we are optimistic they will open up the area to more investments and development,” said Wainaina.

Of late, the country has witnessed buildings alleged to have been built on riparian and other  public land being brought down.

A fortnight ago President Uhuru Kenyatta said demolition of properties built on riparian lands will go on.

Uhuru added that the demolition exercise is part of cracking the whip on corruption and that the government is committed to ensuring that people can conduct clean business in the country.

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