Quit complaining, expressway is a great idea

Change is messy and uncomfortable for many of us. When spotted approaching in the horizon, it is likely to be frowned upon, criticised or roundly dismissed.

Not that this reaction will stay forever. Depending on how the change eases in, and its utility eventually becomes apparent, it is likely to be a massive Damascus moment. The most vigorous critics will metamorphose into the loudest praise singers, marvelling at how their lives just got better. They will later loudly wonder how they managed to get by in those days before this development, conveniently forgetting that they were adamantly opposed to it previously.

Take the case of the Nairobi Expressway, for instance. When it was an idea and even began taking shape, the chorus of naysayers was loud and resolute. There was no way we were going to use that toll road, we declared. After all, we had an alternative and had rather stay with the difficult life of traffic jams that we are used to, was the refrain. Some claims and conspiracy theories were thrown in about who really owns it, and why it was being constructed, further solidifying the oppositionists’ position.

It did not help that its construction inevitably came with huge disruption and heavy traffic on the road that had many motorists spend many hours, even overnight, stuck in jams. Some motorists even demanded to be compensated for the disturbance.

The argument then was that everyone of us was now being made to suffer for a rich man’s road that we did not even need, in the first place; and might not even afford to use. After all, with road levies paid in fuel, why did we need to pay again to use what should be our birth right?

Probably, this reaction might have even disturbed the proponents of the highway. Yet, they continued putting in the work; or were further into the project to turn back. It could have made them begin to doubt the soundness of the investment, considering that unlike the usual arrangements where roads are built with borrowed funds, for this one, the plan was to recoup the monies from the expected toll collections from motorists.

Salute the indefatigable spirit of an investor, they soldiered on, oblivious to unfavourable public reaction. Finally, the road was opened. And this is when the taste of the pudding was experienced after getting an opportunity to eat it.

Lately, it has been nothing but praises for the road. Its advantages have people changing their stances. That with the faster roads, it is possible to save on time and fuel that would have been spent idling in traffic jams. Now, it is being said that building the Expressway was totally worth it. In our typical impressionable manner, experiencing a drive on the road is one of the things to experience on this road.

Small inconveniences like having to queue at the exit for those paying in cash, has done little to dampen enthusiasm for it. That is a small price to pay for the benefits that come with using the road.

Those in the know even claimed that it is thanks to the road that the city recently managed to host six heads of state and not come to a standstill as they had a way of moving around without disrupting traffic. Remember, without an alternative route, the highway would have to be cleared five times for them to pass, which means a traffic mess. Even worse if they came in during peak times with everyone trying to get to work and school and exited in rush hour when we all get to a mad rush back.

Whether this claim is factual or just another one of those fabrications manufactured on social media timelines, the Expressway still seems like a great idea. Especially considering that it has not been idle and is a daily route for many

The moral of the story is that it is sometimes not worth paying attention to popular opinion because it is also possible for the majority to be wrong. The idea that is initially ignored could sometimes become the best thing to have ever happened.

Like the biblical stone that the builders rejected finding huge utility. Let’s keep enjoying the conveniences of the Expressway!


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