- Thika road made the town a preferred residential area for many working and studying in Thika and Nairobi.
- Traffic snarl-up, especially during rush hours, has also become a common feature.
Once regarded as the Birmingham of Kenya for playing host to numerous industries, Thika is slowly shedding its industrial shine and becoming a residential hub owing to the increased establishment of apartments, hostels and private homes.
This shift was largely driven by the completion of the Thika highway.
The highway made the town a preferred residential area for many working and studying in Thika and Nairobi. That it had adequate water supply, security and proximity to Nairobi helped matters.
As people discovered the gem, the population increased exponentially, leading to a strain in existing amenities such as water and roads. The pressing issue now is change in land use in some estates previously set aside as single dwelling zones.
Traffic snarl-up, especially during rush hours, has also become a common feature. This has forced the county government of Kiambu to open up more feeder roads connecting the town to its main exit points.
The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) is also constructing Thika bypass and more roads to help ease the flow of traffic along Garissa highway, the main route connecting the town to North Eastern and Nairobi county.
A strain in the only water source — River Chania — relied upon by majority of residents and industries has forced Thika Water and Sewerage System to ration the essential commodity especially during the dry seasons.
Thika town planner, Mr Eston Kibutu, told the Nation that the changes have seen the town's central business district expand to Section 9, which has therefore led to an increase in demand for land for use in setting up commercial buildings as is common with all locations next to a CBD.
High rise commercial buildings are cropping up in areas previously zoned out as single dwelling residential locations like Ngoingwa, an estate that stretches all the way to M-Pesa Academy along Mang'u Road near Thika superhighway leading to conflict between original dwellers who've built homes at the estate and the upcoming investors.
A recent meeting called and chaired by Kiambu county director for urban development and management, Ms Jane Wanjiku Mwaniki, to address the conflict ended in disarray as the two teams failed to reach a consensus.