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Motorists caught up in 10-hour traffic jam on Nairobi-Mai Mahiu road over trailer accidents

By Antony Gitonga | June 2nd 2016
Trucks line up along the Mai Mahiu-Nairobi road following a traffic jam that was caused by a truck that developed mechanical breakdown near Mutarakwa center. The situation was worsened by overlapping drivers forcing traffic police to intervene before the jam was cleared hours later. (PHOTO: ANTHONY GITONGA/ STANDARD)

Hundreds of passengers spent the night in the cold following a 10-hour traffic jam along the Nairobi-Mai Mahiu road.

Transport along the busy road that serves as the door to the Great Rift Valley was paralysed following a series of accidents involving trailers.

Among those caught up in the jam were dignitaries heading for the Madaraka celebrations in Nakuru and tens of tourists heading to Maasai Mara.

Some of the motorists were forced to seek the services of motorcycle operators to escape from the jam through alternative routes.
This is the fifth time in a month that transport along the busy road has been paralysed for hours either due to accidents or overlapping drivers.

Trouble started on Tuesday afternoon after a truck was involved in an accident, blocking a section of the road. This led to a major snarl-up after police moved in to tow the truck away.

Later at night, two trailers were involved in another accident at Mutarakwa centre, leading to a major gridlock that stretched for over 20kms on both sides of the road.

A witness, Joseph Njoroge, said due to the design of the road, it was impossible to manoeuvre past the accident scenes.
He said the situation was worsened by some drivers, who refused to give way to their colleagues.
"The night jam started at 10pm and by 9am on Wednesday morning, the flow of traffic was yet to resume to normalcy," he said. Naivasha MP John Kihagi expressed concern over frequent jams on the section of the road, noting they were costing the country millions of shillings.
Kihagi, who was on his way to Nakuru for the national celebrations, said the only solution to the crisis was expanding the road. "We are deeply concerned by the weekly jams on this road, which is the door to the Great Rift Valley, as it is costing the country millions of shillings in lost man-hours," he said.

A senior police officer who declined to be named termed the road as a disaster in waiting, noting it had been neglected for years.

The officer added since its construction, the road had not been expanded, making it impossible for vehicles to manoeuver through the sides in case there was an accident.
"It has become the norm for traffic jams on this section of the road every week, some lasting for hours and it's a matter of days before we get a major lock-down," said the officer.

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