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Dangerous sections on Ngong Road repaired after motorists complain

NAIROBI
By James Wanzala | November 16th 2021
Makeshift signage near Racecourse area, allegedly put by motorists at Dagoretti corner bridge along Ngong Road. [Courtesy]

The government has moved to fix a section of Ngong road that has caused many vehicle accidents following public outcry.

Motorists using Ngong Road this week protested over the stretch from Dagoretti bridge up to Lenana area, saying it lacked road signs to show the two U-turns that have put their lives at risk.

They also wanted proper lighting erected in the area to reduce the number of accidents that have been witnessed in the recent past.

‘‘The road has no signage and as you slow down to make a U-turn, you are hit from behind. It is worse at night when an oncoming driver on the other side of the road puts on full light because vision is blurred,’’ said Michael Shikanda, a motorist.

Driving along the road, there were two U-turns, one for motorists coming from City Center and another for those coming from Ngong into the City.

The dotted lane from City Center leading to the U-turn is short and becomes a problem for speeding drivers.

‘‘This area should have been expanded a bit because there is plenty of empty space left between the road yet the lanes are so squeezed," said Hellen Okapesi, a resident of the Race Course area.

She said vehicles rum into each other because the lanes are also narrow. "Because of narrow space one has to suddenly reduce speed," said a motorist.

On the other side of the road heading into the City from Ngong, there are no road marks.

Kenya Urban Roads Agency(KURA) said the section of the road is being repaired to save lives.

 ‘‘We are improving the area by removing what was like an island and which gave motorists problems because they would think the road is continuous," said John Cheboi, KURA chief corporate communications officer.

He said KURA is also improving the u-turns. "Signage will be part of the improvement not only at the area but along the entire road,’’ said Cheboi. 

The development comes a day after it emerged that there has been a spat between KURA and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) over who is responsible for safety and lighting of the road.

Cheboi said the agency was reviewing the usability of all the city roads.

''This is based on public complaints and what we have seen today during our engineers' visit. There are areas that need to be improved for public safety and use of the road,’’ said Cheboi.

However, asked about the lighting of the road, Cheboi earlier said that the mandate belongs to NMS.

''We have written to National Treasury requesting for resources to install the lights infrastructure and we are waiting. However, after installing them, the maintenance work will belong to NMS,’’ he said.

NMS Director of Transport, Michael Ochieng, said the work of lighting Ngong Road is not their mandate.

''Kura has requested us to light it and we are going to make efforts to do that even if it’s not our mandate,'' said Eng. Ochieng. 

Angered by the failure of KURA to act on the complaints, the motorists on Monday had put a makeshift roadblock at Race Course area, which consisted of an orange-painted boulder and wooden hazard signs to warn fellow citizens.

By Monday evening, a speed bump had been erected in the area to slow down motorists. and today, KURA moved to remove the protruding sections that led to accidents.

Motorists concerns come following an accident on the same spot last week, pushing road users online to express their outrage due to lack of signage and lighting.

One of the road users last week posted a picture of a night accident on social media, where he said a matatu plying Ngong-route was speeding and hit the end of the u-turn lane, rolling several times.

A spot check by the Standard along the stretch of the road revealed the potential danger motorists are exposed to.

While still at the spot, an accident nearly occurred as a speeding motorist nearly rammed behind a car that had slowed down to take the turn.

Traders along the stretch of the road also said they have been affected by the accidents.

Paul Njuguna, who sells toilet seats near the u-turns on the way to Ngong, has been affected by road accidents in the area.

‘‘I have witnessed several accidents from motorbikes to vehicles that after roll many times after hitting those sections and break my wares. Most of the accidents happen at night after I’ve left the shop, so I am unable to hold anyone accountable for the damage,’’ said Njuguna.

The road agency finally bowed to Twitter pressure, apologised and promised to act.

‘‘Our engineers were on-site in the morning and the issue is being addressed, including proper signage and road markings. Sorry for the inconvenience caused’’ said KURA in a tweet response.

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