KeNHA directs wide-load transporters to acquire exemption permits

Trailers ferry Machinery from the Port of Mombasa as they head towards Eldoret on the Nakuru Nairobi Highway near Free Area. [File, Standard]

Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has directed all wide-load transporters to apply for exemption permits and comply with road regulations. 

KeNHA said the move is aimed at preventing the loss of lives on Kenyan roads.

The agency explained that the initiative is geared towards implementing the East African Community (EAC) Vehicle Load Control Act for public safety and protection of the road Infrastructure from damage amid escalating road accidents.

In a statement, KeNHA said it has identified various cases of breach of regulations that are not only a threat to road infrastructure but also endanger the lives of other road users. 

For instance, the agency cited a case where a court recently convicted a transporter whose truck was impounded at the Dongo Kundu weighbridge for violating permit conditions. 

"This, however, necessitated that the transporter provide a new route plan which avoids bridge over road structures which have low clearances to secure safe passage," KeNHA Deputy Director Samwel Kumba said. 

"The Authority is also implementing and enforcing the axle load compliance through the East African Community Vehicle Load Control Act, 2016 and its accompanying regulations on the network where this is applicable," he added.

The Act provides that the maximum height for a vehicle is 4.3 metres, 1.25 metres for its front and rear projections and 0.15 metres side projections, beyond which an exemption permit becomes necessary. 

Notably, several accidents are caused by stalled trucks and wide-load lorries on the highways.  

According to National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) data between January 1 to April 11, 1,189 deaths have been recorded in road accidents while 3,316 people sustained serious injuries. 

To ease access of the permits, Kumba announced that the agency has developed a digital system to facilitate the acquisition process. 

"The Authority has facilitated the transport fraternity with a user-friendly permits portal to enable ease of access to this service," read the statement in part. 

Kumba further said that KeNHA has set up weighbridge stations across the country to check compliance with legal weight limits and dimensions. 

"The Authority has set up 11 static weighbridge stations, 23 virtual weighbridge stations on the National Trunk Road Network and 23 mobile weighbridge teams across the country to monitor and ensure adherence to axle load laws," he said.