Imported second-hand vehicles, frequent traffic jams due to poor roads, alongside with poor vehicle maintenance blend together to create a highly toxic and smoky pungent fume that is Nairobi’s air further exacerbating the air pollution problem in East Africa’s biggest economy.
And the result is, at least, 14,000 Kenyans die annually from pollution-related illnesses such as respiratory ailments, heart diseases, brain damage and cancers majority of whom reside in Kenya’s Capital.
The traffic jam especially gets worse during rush hour, which has since seen many Nairobians forced to leave their homes some as early as 5:30 am just to beat the traffic.
So bad is the traffic jam that Kenyans spend 40 days in a year just sitting in traffic and that’s not even all. The cost to the economy is enormous and according to the government, time wasted in traffic jams represents a cost of $578,000 (Sh58.4 million) a day and $210 million (Sh2.1 billion) a year in lost productivity.
One of the main reasons for this congestion is thought to be the ever-expanding population and hence the increase in the number of vehicles growing at a higher rate than the road capacity.
The population in Nairobi, for instance, has grown from 350,000 in 1963 to about 3.3 million as of 2009.
The number of vehicles in Nairobi was estimated at over 300,000 in 2008. In the same period, there has been a limited increase in the existing road infrastructure capacity.
So, should you find yourself in Nairobi one of these fine days there are roads, you should try to avoid like the plague if you want to escape the nightmare of sitting for hours in the car.
Here are four roads to avoid in Nairobi especially on rush hours.
Being the only highway between Nairobi and Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa it is no wonder traffic here can get hellish.
An estimated 95% of cargo from the sea Port of Mombasa is transported via the Nairobi-Mombasa motorway.
In March 2018, hundreds of motorists were forced to spend the night on Mombasa road after a massive traffic snarl following the heavy rains.
The two-lane Nairobi-Mombasa Highway is currently being converted into a dual carriageway to address the increasing traffic congestion.
Unveiled in September 2016, upgrades began in 2018 and is set to continue through 2023.
When fully operational in 2024, the Nairobi-Mombasa highway will become the country’s first high-speed expressway.
Serving as one of the main feeder roads into the city, Jogoo Road is one of the busiest roads.
Most residents hailing from Nairobi’s Eastland area depend on this road to get into the city and as a result, end up experiencing one of the worst traffic congestion cases ever witnessed in the East African Region.
If you reside in Nairobi West, Madaraka, Langata, Karen or Ongata Rongai, many are the times you have been stuck at Langata Road for hours on end. you will agree with me that the situation on Langata Road can be dire at times. There are times when you find the entire stretch from Madaraka up to the Langata Barracks is at a standstill.
However, the construction of the Langata Road dual carriageway at Bomas in Nairobi might help to resolve part of the traffic problem in Nairobi.
The traffic issue on Langata road, just like the case is for Jogoo road, is at its worst in the morning and in the evenings when people are rushing home from work.
Arguably one of the busiest roads in the capital today, Ngong road ferries thousands of Nairobi county and Kajiado county residents to work in the city and back every other day.
Just like the case was for the previous Nairobi roads, the traffic issue in Kenya is at its worst during the peak hours and that is in the morning and during the evening.
In 2018, commuters using this road breath a sigh of relief after a Japanese firm completed the first phase of the road expansion project. Phase one of the Ngong Road dualling project, which was initially set for completion in July last year, was delayed by eight months owing to challenges of shifting water and power lines.
World Kaihatsu Kogyo Company Ltd., a Japanese firm, undertook works on the project – spanning 2.5km between the Kenya National Library and Prestige Plaza at a cost of Sh1.3 billion.