Kenya news update – Will more highways decongest traffic?


As the ‘Eastern and Northern’ by passes around the city of Nairobi are showing signs of advanced construction, with sections of the new highways already completed by the contractors, the ‘Southern By Pass’ has received fresh impetus according to Nairobi based sources, after China offered to provide the bulk of the funds for the planning and construction of what will then effectively become a ‘ring highway’ around the city. Heavy traffic destined for towns beyond Nairobi or even the African hinterland nations of Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and South Sudan congests the main Uhuru Highway considerably, making commutes into the city during rush hour a nervy affair, and the business community has welcomed the news of available finance with some degree of enthusiasm. Construction along the main highway from the city to Athi River and Mombasa is also making progress while the highway to Thika too has advanced considerably.

In the process of discussing the road network in Kenya it was also learned that another suburbian dual carriage road is to be constructed between the suburb of Karen towards the Ngong Road leading out of the city centre while the other direction between Wilson Airport, the national park main entrance and the Bomas of Kenya too will be upgraded to dual carriage specs. Traffic along these roads, which connect the city centre with the outer suburbs and then leads on to other areas in the periphery of the capital, is also eternally congested and in urgent need of roads and modern intersections which can facilitate the growing traffic in and out of Kenya’s and East Africa’s main city.

Conservation sources however have already signaled objections to running the Southern By Pass in too close a proximity to the Nairobi National Park, fearing it might cut off the last remaining migration routes for animals in and out of the park from the Athi Plains, an issue which will require consultations and mitigative measures to avoid ‘starving’ the park of new DNA input.

Meanwhile it was also pointed out the public transportation in Nairobi needs revamping and that in particular rail options need to be explored further, as are regular affordably bus services, to reduce the use of private vehicles during the daily commutes.

Watch this space.