[kictanet] DEADLY THIKA ROAD - WHO IS LISTENING?
eadera at idrc.or.ke
Mon Apr 23 11:35:13 EAT 2012
One may ask, why talk about roads on an ICT list? As a vision 2030 project like Konza City, I thought it's important to bring to our attention the dangers of cutting corners...I hope this will NOT happen with Konza city.
I would like to address this note to Mugo Kibati as Director of V2030.
On Friday, amidst the pounding rain, I ventured out on Thika road (for the first time, since the super highway was done)....I've been avoiding the road like a plague given the grisly stories I hear about thika road. But this time, it was out of necessity.
I've seen the dazzling roads of south Africa, Dubai, the US, Japan...you name it....so in my mind I thought a "slip road" would be the standard slip road it ought to be; sign boards would be clear so I know where to go and when to turn off; and that I should NOT expect (NEVER) to find a speed bump smack right in the middle of the highway when I've hit 100+km per hour and enjoying the cruise.
We appreciate the development (one should not question that), but can we do things with excellence?
First, I was on a lane around Parklands heading towards Thika, when suddenly I noticed on-coming cars flashing, warning me that while I was right to use that lane as a short diversion, I had missed an opening that should have taken me back to the right lane! I promptly took the next left turning to get back to the right lane, luckily I was driving at snail speed. The next encounter was when I suddenly came across a notice board indicating that the road was closed, but it was not clear which one - the one ahead or the one to my right...my sixth sense suggested a take the road on the right, when I did, it happened to be the right one, but yet again, there were cars coming from the right side of that road from behind me and a had a near miss with a speeding country bus...and you know how they zoom! (I understand later another car did not know which route to take at this same spot and crashed the barriers at high speed and the driver was removed from his car unconscious! possibly dead!). My next headache was to find out which slip road to take off Thika road to my destination - I have never seen 90o slip roads....the standard from my lay knowledge is that they are around 350 - 45o - Thika road has 90o slip roads!!! - how do you do that from a highway! Finally, on my way back, I had to make some maneuvers below a bridge to get back onto the road coming back to Nairobi (with huge concrete walls on the side so you can't see other cars coming from all directions) - I've never seen interchanges under a bridge with blind spots and cars coming in all directions!
Thika road is a death trap and needs to be sorted out as soon as possible.
1. The slips roads need to be made proper slip roads with clear signs
2. The bumps on the highways should be removed and foot bridges constructed for pedestrians
3. The interchanges, need to be rectified and ensure people moving in different directions do so without meeting cars coming in the opposite directions (at a blind spot with concrete walls - the Museum area is a classic example) - do 2-3 layers of road even consider underground passages, but for heavens sake don't let ongoing cars meet under a bridge with blind spots.
4. Have proper legible sign boards erected urgently.
While the road is under construction and one can dismiss issues raised about Thika road indicating that diversions are just temporary, the main point of my intervention is with the design and its usability in a safe manner. The fact is that Thika road is not safe as it's currently designed - it does not give the impression that it was done by those who have done the roads we see in other countries that work.
Mugo, I look forward to hearing from you and trust that you will have discussions with your counterparts at the Ministry of Roads so Kenyans know that something will be done about Thika Road. It is sad that while many Kenyans have complained about this road among themselves, we do not have forums to bring this to the attention of the decision-makers. This is my attempt and I believe we will hear from you.
Lets design and implement Konza differently....we must never compromise on standards.
Edith (personal opinion)
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