The sight of green flowers fixed on concrete pillars that hold the monumental Nairobi Expressway is alluring.
With trees plated along sections of the road and the sprouting green grass, the scene along Mombasa Road is enhancing the exquisite landscape of the highway.
For some time now, several motorists and residents who use the Nairobi Expressway have been treated to sights of beautiful flowers that have bloomed overnight.
Unlike typical flowers that take months to flourish, these ones on the expressway have given the road users an overnight natural ambience, serenity and peace of mind.
The flowers are grown on pockets fixed on the concrete pillars, which also allow water to drain down into the highway drainage system.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the technology used is called geo-flower and the plants are not artificial as could be perceived.
“They are not artificial in any way. The technology we are using allows the flowers to grow in a short time and will give the expressway amazing ambience,” said Macharia.
The CS said that initially, people thought the construction of the road would leave a concrete jungle but the greening is giving it a different look.
The flower design and the ongoing beatification is gradually giving the section of Mombasa road an alluring atmosphere.
Kenya National Highways Authority Deputy Director Julia Odenyo said the initiative is being rolled out in three phases and will be completed by May. She said it includes planting grass and flowers on the ground, tree planting in places where there is enough spaces and anchoring the flowers on pillars as has been witnessed in sections of the road.
“We felt that the travel should not be boring. This is also proof of new technology of building structure,” she added.
Odenyo said the covering of columns with plants gives a soft architecture on the walls and brings relaxed feeling when traveling. “It is part and parcel of conserving environment,” she said.
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Apart from the feel good experience, experts say the plants on the pillars will absorb carbon emitted from the vehicles using the expressway.
“They will be part and parcel of the environment that we find ourselves in. It is important to ensure trees are retained because of the contributions they make on climate change,” Odenyo said.
This will add an effect on the greater carbon sync in which carbon generated by vehicles will be absorbed.
Odenyo said the operating contractor will be responsible for maintenance of the project.
“They will continuously water the flowers and replant them where need arises. There is a team in place whose responsibility is to deal with landscaping,” said Odenyo.
Odenyo said the idea to beautify the highway followed fears that some engineering structures such as the Express way do not create a peaceful environment for people to travel through.
“It was important to blend the infrastructure with the environment and the beautification was a condussive to introduce a new technology. This gives soft architecture of the structure,” said Odenyo.
She said the initiative will bring an ambient feeling for those using the highway.
Nairobians had expressed fears that the huge pillars would attract posters mostly from those aspiring for political seats as the country approaches the August General Election.
“People were saying we will create concrete a jungle but the greening process is changing everything. The road is now beautiful and you can take a picnic down there,” Macharia said.
The CS spoke during a tour of Eastern bypass on February 18. On completion, the road will stretch 27km (17 miles) across Nairobi, and is meant to ease traffic flow in and out of the Central Business District.
The CS made an inspection of three major roads in Nairobi’s Eastern Bypass, Thika – Magumu road and Naivasha – Njambini road.
The Eastern bypass is 27 kilometers starting from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport all the way to Ruiru bypass.
The dual carriageway is being constructed at a cost of Sh12.5 billion and is expected to be completed by the end of June.
“It will be the first project to be completed in a record time of six months, contrary to what we were used to before,” Macharia said.