Thika Road's 'Babayao Slip' in need of maintenance
By - Jan 1st 1970
When the Thika Superhighway was constructed it opened towns like Ruiru, Juja, and Thika towns, which attracted people, especially those working in Nairobi.
Thika town was particularly preferred over the other peri-urban centres along the busy highway. But the migration came with challenges. Five years later, the industrial town was choking under the gridlock of jams with motorists spending almost an hour getting in and out of the town.
“In this short distance, we sometimes spend almost an hour navigating from the superhighway to and out of Thika town on busy days,” recalls Mburu Mwangi a longtime Chania Travelers Sacco driver.
In a bid to end this traffic menace after his successful election as Kiambu governor, Ferdinand Waititu alias Babayao earmarked a piece of land next to the Chania River, curving the 200 meters Slip Road, which eased the gridlocks.
Initially, motorists used one way to get out of Thika and join the superhighway through Gatitu, but with the creation of the Slip Road, entry and exit into the town became easier since it connected to the pedestrian footbridge.
The 20 metres footbridge was built when the Thika superhighway was constructed but was rarely used as pedestrians from the town preferred using another footbridge built by the defunct Thika municipal council.
For the last five years, motorists from Thika town to other counties in Mt Kenya have been crossing the Chania river using the footbridge.
Though the footbridge was meant for pedestrians, it has solved the traffic problem, which most leaders failed to resolve, and consequently minimized traffic jams in Thika town. Motorists who ply to Mt Kenya region and beyond are now calling for its repairs as it’s in a deplorable state.
“Even though he was impeached and thrown out as Kiambu governor, one of the things we will cherish from him is opening up this section of the road; we call it Babayao Road. This was an idea no one had, but Waititu thought about it and he executed it,” said Englon Wainaina a Thika resident.