A petroleum tanker which was involved in an accident with a matatu at Kahoya along the Eldoret-Nakuru highway on December 17, 2016. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG
Truck drivers and a section of leaders from Nakuru County have called for an alternative road for heavy commercial vehicles plying the Nairobi-Eldoret route to stem rising cases of road carnage.
The appeal to the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) comes hardly a week after 19 people were killed in a road accident involving a Busia bound bus and a truck. More than 20 others survived with injuries.
Rift Valley council of elders chairman Mr Gilbert Kabage and chairman of Nakuru-based lobby People’s Power Watch, Mr Jesse Karanja, are among leaders who want the government agency to act on the matter.
“Hardly a week passes without news of a fatal accident along the busy highway. Interestingly, majority of these accidents involve trucks. Action has to be taken now,” he said Thursday.
Truck drivers on the other hand said a separate road for their vehicles would enable them avoid sharp descending stretches, especially along the dangerous Sachangwan-Salgaa route.
Mr Mohamed Abdul, who operates a truck from Mombasa to Busia, said the highway is congested and most drivers cause accidents due to fatigue from long distance travels.
“We request the government to create diversions that will be used by heavy trucks to save us from these deadly crashes,” he said.
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Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama, however, said construction of an alternative road is a long-term measure that may take time to implement.
The legislator said he is planning to present a motion in parliament seeking to bar trucks from travelling at night.
“The idea of a separate road is far-fetched for now. We need measures that can reduce these deadly accidents including banning of lorries from travelling at night,” the MP said.
He said completion of the Standard Gauge Railway line will also help reduce traffic along the busy highway.
“The SGR…will decongest the busy Nairobi-Malaba highway once it is completed. That is why we as leaders requested that it be expanded to Nakuru and if possible, to the western part of the country,” the MP stated.
Blackspots along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway include Gilgil junction, Njoro Road junction, Ngata bridge-Sobea, St Mary’s and Kinungi, Karai, Maili Mbili in Naivasha.
From Nakuru to Eldoret, the Salgaa-Kibunja stretch has also claimed several lives.
The number of deaths at the 11-kilometre stretch account for half the total lives lost in accidents in all of Rift Valley, according to data from the National Transport and Safety Authority, with a majority of these involving trailers or trucks ferrying goods.
Other blackspots are along the Timboroa-Burnt Forest stretch, especially at Timboroa-Danger, Salgaa-GSU camp, Makutano Junction-Eldama Ravine, Kahoya-Timboroa, Equator-King’ero.
Heavy commercial vehicles and trucks have also been blamed for frequent traffic snarl ups along the route.