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KENHA shame over Thika Road foot bridges

OPINION
By Mt Kenya Star Editorial | October 14th 2019

Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) has so far done a good job going by the record-breaking roads construction and upgrades being undertaken across the country. Indeed, one win that the Jubilee administration has scored is in the expansion of the road network.

But Kenha has failed Kenyans by the delays in the construction of the various footbridges along Nairobi-Thika Road, sadly leading to more deaths of pedestrians along one of Kenya’s busiest and modern roads.

It has been more than two years now since the process of setting up of the additional footbridges started.

These bridges were proposed because those erected by the Chinese contractors were not enough and some were misplaced, that is, some were constructed in an area that had no human traffic. The contracts for the construction were given to the local contractors.

Sadly, some of these contractors are yet to even complete the construction of the supporting structure. It is unfortunate that locals continue to box themselves and give more reasons why Kenya should always consider granting such contracts to the more efficient Chinese contractors.

More sad news is that even as the contractors struggle to finish, the steel bridges that were allegedly being fabricated in China are yet to arrive, more than a year after they were first promised.

Now, consider that it is more than two years since this project was started yet it took about three years to do the entire Thika Road, and it appears it may take a similar time to do just the four footbridges.

Several concerns arise. One is the safety of these structures. Kenha must engage independent engineers to inspect the concrete structures before the steel structure is placed. This must be done because the speed of their construction is so slow that one worries if the contractors may not decide to take shortcuts. You imagine the consequences of a collapsed footbridge.

The probable deaths, disabling injuries and the traffic disruption. This is not a far-fetched assumption considering our safety and rescue performance record, as the recent case of the Likoni ferry portrays.

Second concern and as the media reports have suggested, there may be an element of corruption in the whole affair. Ministry officials say the matter is being investigated by agencies and we dully welcome this move. By all indications, the delay in this project is definitely muddled in corruption.

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