In Summary
  • This 13-kilometre-long road, constructed at a cost of nearly Sh10 billion, was meant to cut the time spent between Thika Road and Mombasa Road from two hours to about 15 minutes.
  • In Nairobi, a total of 373 people have been killed on the roads, with the majority of the crashes (109) involving private motorists.
  • Even with footbridges in place, pedestrians crossing from undesignated spots are a common feature along killer stretches.

Outer Ring Road in Nairobi remains one of the most dangerous highways in the capital, according to the latest statistics released by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

With 31 fatalities, only second after Mombasa Road, which has 38, Outer Ring road has retained its signature of a death trap.

This 13-kilometre-long road, constructed at a cost of nearly Sh10 billion, was meant to cut the time spent between Thika Road and Mombasa Road from two hours to about 15 minutes.

The road would also help to significantly offload the city of vehicles connecting to Mombasa Road and Southern Bypass.

DEVASTATING
This has so far been largely achieved, yet with devastating consequences.

Since its construction less than three years ago, the road has claimed hundreds of lives, crippled thousands and led to losses running into millions of shillings.

So, why has this blessing swiftly turned into a curse? What went wrong?

From its flawed design to haphazard construction, experts argue that the road was doomed right before the excavators had gone to work.

An engineer who was part of the design team claims that several modifications were made to alter the original plan ‘‘to suit certain interests’’, noting that these would massively compromise the safety of the road once it was complete.

Curiously, despite the road incising through populous neighbourhoods of Nairobi’s eastlands, the four-lane route lacked footbridges, walk ways, cycle paths, lighting, signage and landscaping when it was completed in 2017.

The contractor, SinoHydro Tianjin Engineer, would later erect 11 footbridges along the 13-kilometre stretch after protests from road users.

FOOTBRIDGES

Before their construction, tens of people had been knocked down to their death while attempting to cross the busy road.

Even with footbridges in place, pedestrians crossing from undesignated spots are a common feature along killer stretches.

These go over the guardrails before running across the road in a daring manoeuvre that often ends tragically.

Mr John Chege, a frequent user of the road, says it features bumps at Kariobangi, which pose danger to motorists who haven’t used the road before.

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