Demand for trailer parks in border towns to curb gridlock mounts
By Ignatius Odanga | May 31st 2020
The delayed construction of trailer parks has caused traffic problems in Malaba and Busia towns and residents are mounting pressure on the county to speed up the project.
Ironically, it has emerged the Sh15 million set aside in the current budget for construction of a holding bay for trucks, according to Budget and Appropriations chairman Linus Asiba, is yet to be utilised.
The county acquired six acres alongside the Busia-Kisumu highway for establishment of the park. The site is nearly 20km away from the Busia Customs offices.
Mr Asiba, the Matayos South MCA, said it was the wish of the public that there be parks in Busia and Malaba as one way of reducing congestion on key roads in the region.
“The money is yet to be utilised because the contractor has not moved to the site. The public would wish the construction of trailer parks to kick off and be completed on time,” said Asiba.
Former Busia Municipality Mayor Francis Mukamani said the solution to the congestion of trucks in Busia and Malaba towns will be attained through construction of trailer parks.
He noted that the incident witnessed in Malaba where angry drivers barricaded the Malaba-Bungoma highway to protest harassment by Ugandan authorities would not have happened if there was a park in the area.
Mukamani further noted there would not have been fears of truck drivers mingling freely with locals if there were parks to hold the trailers at a specific place.
Some Malaba residents raised concerns that long stay by truck drivers in border towns exposes them to virus infection.
By Thursday, Busia had 11 cases, 10 of which were truck drivers.
“The State and the county government must be held responsible for the region’s lack of trailer parks,” said Mukamani. “Busia and Malaba towns are busy towns, they deserve to have well equipped parks so that drivers are confined there until they are cleared to cross to Uganda.”
Contacted for comment, Chief Officer for Lands Maurice Odundo directed us to his counterpart in the department of Public Works Stephen Nasiagi, who in turn again directed us to Mr Odundo.
“Please find out from Chief Officer in the department of Public Works. They are the managers of our projects,” said Odundo, while Nasiagi said: "That project belongs to Lands department so they are better placed to respond.”
Governor Sospeter Ojaamong said the State had promised to construct trailer parks for the county in Busia and Malaba.
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