KeNHA must work to stop unnecessary accidents along the Eldoret-Malaba highway

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The scene of the accident that happened at Kaburengu on Monday
The scene of the accident that happened at Kaburengu on Monday

The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), the County governments of Kakamega and Bungoma must take emergency measures to prevent what are now becoming, monthly fatal accidents on the Eldoret–Malaba Highway occasioned by Cargo Transit Trucks plying the Eldoret–Malaba Highway.

In less than two months about a dozen innocent residents of the two Counties of Kakamega and Bungoma have perished on the Highway with the Chimoi–Kaburengu area and more so the Kaburengu junction where an overpass is under construction, making the spot an obvious death trap. KeNHA must insist that the law is followed by the Chinese contractor constructing the overpass at Kaburengu to ensure the safety of private vehicle owners, commuters, public service vehicle operators, motorbike riders and traders is guaranteed. The site is in a total mess, the diversions are pathetic and there are zero safety measures. Who is sleeping on the job? There is always a vote in the contract for road construction for diversions, safety measures.

KeNHA must be compelled by elected leaders in the National Assembly to invest more resources in managing highways on a regular basis through information, education, provision of emergency response vehicles, personnel beyond only expending money in constructing highways and paving the way for them to cause deaths among the communities bordering the highways and the commuters, as is the case of the Eldoret–Malaba Highway at the moment.

KeNHA must also equally stop the dangerous trend in Kenya of allowing the erection of shops, businesses along highways and making them continuous markets, streets and rendering the highways unusable for the purposes they were meant to serve. Markets, towns, must be planned off the highway and so that the highways remain untouched as transportation corridors so that any road user who wishes to access a market has to get off the highway.  It’s important that the billions invested in the construction of highways do not go to waste because Kenyans and business people in particular wish to convert highways into shopping streets, leading to the high rates of accidents as a result and erection of bumps that render the highways useless.

The pathetic state of management or lack of management of the Eldoret–Malaba Highway must be brought to an end to minimize or eliminate accidents claiming innocent lives. The nuisance caused by long traffic jams of vehicles waiting to go through the Webuye weighbridge must be addressed and a whole lane created from Kaburengu to the weighbridge so that motorists who aren’t passing through the weighbridge procedures aren’t inconvenienced. Bungoma County must manage the movement, parking of heavy commercial vehicles at Kanduyi to eliminate the nuisance they have become.

The highways being constructed in Western Kenya and North Rift must bring value, more commerce and not unnecessary deaths, maiming of its residents, loss of property due to lack of management of the highways and/or shoddy safety measures by contractors engaged in the on-going constructions. We cannot afford to make the lives of the people of the region too cheap that nothing is done even after a spade of avoidable accidents and deaths.