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Man stuck in Gilgil 10hr traffic misses dowry payment

RIFT VALLEY
By Mercy Kahenda and Huggai Kimongo | August 3rd 2019

The gridlock was caused by construction of a section of the road by Kenya National Highway Authority (KENHA) at Gilgil Weigh-bridge. [Standard]

Anthony Okumu, is among those who were stranded at the Gilgil Weigh-bridge.

Okumu was expected at a family function for dowry payment.

Most affected were those heading to upcountry who spent the night on the highway.

He left Nairobi on Friday night at around 9am and expected to arrive in Ugenya at around 6am.

At approximately 5km to Gilgil Weighbridge, the passenger bus he was travelling in got stuck in traffic.

"I left Nairobi on time but look, I cannot attend a family function that made me travel because of traffic snarl-up," said Okumu.

The gridlock was caused by construction of a section of the road by the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) at Gilgil Weighbridge, according to Gilgil police boss Emmanuel Opuru.

Okumu said the traffic was bad. Motorists were overlapping and overtaking unnecessarily, making it difficult for traffic officers to clear the snarl up.

"Police came to help clear the road but there was nothing much they could do because of indisciplined motorists," said the passenger.

Another passenger Rosebellah Opondo, travelling for the burial of her grandmother in Ruambwa, Budalang'i, also said she was inconvenienced.

She boarded Climax Bus that left Nairobi at around 10pm, but by noon, she was still in Gilgil.

"It is sad that I am unable to bury my grandmother because of heavy traffic," she said.

Unfortunately, even after traffic was cleared, the passenger bus got a puncture.

Efforts to have another vehicle provide transport remained futile.

"I am not sure whether I will travel to the village or should get back to Nairobi because I am expected to report back at work on Monday morning," said the devastated passenger.

Opondo spent Sh1,300 on fare and did not have extra money to spend on meals among other needs during the long distance journey.

"I have not taken a single meal, not even water," she said.

Francis Mulama was heading to Siaya. He lamented over the delay and accused authorities of failing to come up with a solution to end heavy traffic.

"This is a norm on our roads. Why can't the government provide alternative routes to ease traffic?" he said.

Alice Amadi who was travelling with her children was also stranded at the Gillgil Weighbridge.

She spent a sleepless night in the passenger vehicle.

"I was travelling to attend the burial of my sister in Luanda," she said.

Kenha workers were trying to repair the 100m stretch to avert further crisis.

The Standard on Sunday tried to reach out to officials but did not comment, claiming they are not authorised.

Gilgil police commander Emmanuel Opuru said Kenha closed a lane at the weighbridge to allow completion of an ongoing repair.

However there was high flow of motorists along the route, being a weekend.

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