Inside new plan to tame crashes on Expressway
The government has proposed a raft of interventions to arrest accidents along the Nairobi Expressway, where crashes have so far claimed one life and injured over 20 people.
Among the measures agreed include deployment of traffic officers to enforce compliance of speed limits and temporary restriction of commercial vehicles from using the highway.
Motorists using the Expressway found moving at more than 110 kilometres per hour will face a fine of Sh100,000.
“All motorists are required by law to adhere to the stipulated speed limits. In this regard, we have, in collaboration with Inspector General of Police, installed speed cameras to enhance the enforcement of speed limits,” a statement from Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia read.
Macharia said the government has, with immediate effect, suspended commercial passenger vehicles with a capacity of more than seven passengers from using the road.
“Since the Nairobi Expressway was opened to the public, a number of accidents and incidents involving commercial passenger vehicles have occurred on the highway,” Macharia noted.
He went on: “These have necessitated an investigation into the cause of these accidents and incidents, so that appropriate safety interventions can be developed to ensure such vehicles use the road safely.”
The government will also erect rumble strips to warn drivers to slow down as they approach various toll gates.
It has also emerged that the two separate accidents that happened on Monday and two weeks ago, there were elements of drunk driving and mechanical problems respectively.
Speeding was, however, the common denominator in the factors that led to the crashes that saw the two drivers ram into the Mlolongo toll station.
Following concerns that the road could turn into a graveyard for motorists, top leadership at the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), led by Director General Eng Kungu Ndungu, Moja Expressway and officials at the Ministry of Transport, convened a crisis meeting on Tuesday, where immediate measures were agreed with a view to avoiding more incidents.
The meeting came as a third accident in just two weeks occurred yesterday early morning at the entrance of the Nairobi Expressway in Westlands, laving scores of passengers hurt.
The accident happened when Super Metro bus is reported to have overturned after hitting a guardrail as the driver was trying to avoid ramming into another vehicle that was using the Expressway lane.
On Monday evening, a speeding bus rammed into a private car before rolling over at the station, injuring about 20 people and leaving a trail of damage.
In the 7:30pm accident, which was the second one in just two weeks, an Embassava Sacco bus rammed into a stationary Toyota Prado TX that was waiting for clearance at the exit.
On June 25, a person was killed and several others injured after an accident at the same station. KeNHA then said the deceased crashed into a tollbooth and other vehicles while attempting to exit the toll station at high speed. A source who attended the Tuesday meeting told People Daily that concerns emerged that while there are speed limits warning signs-ranging from 60 kilometres to 80 kilometres per hour, motorists, buoyed by the design of the road, and the fact that it is a dual carriage way, have been cruising at a very high speed of up to 200 kilometres per hour depending on their vehicles’ speed capacity.
“In the June 25 accident where a motorist died after crashing at the Mlolongo toll station, investigations showed he was drunk- driving at a very high speed,” the source disclosed.
“Again, the bus driver, who rammed into a stationary car that was waiting for clearance at the exit, though there were elements of faulty brake system, he was also speeding and his passengers had complained before,” the source added.
The 27-kilometer road that runs from Mlolongo to Waiyaki Way and terminates at the James Gichuru junction was done through Public Private Partnership between KeNHA and China Roads and Bridge Corporation.
The Expressway was meant to ease travel from the airport to Westlands and other points along the way.
Questions have also emerged over the design of a section of the road.
Engineers are said to have raised concern over the particular section of the road they say could cause more problems unless redesigned.