7 November 2012

Kenya: Jomvu Jam Halts Traffic On Highway

A 12-hour traffic jam at the Jomvu-Miritini area paralysed activities on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway. The jam left transporters and travellers stranded between Miritini and Changamwe roundabout for the better part of Monday night and yesterday morning.

The 200 metre-stretch at Jomvu, which has been under construction since January, has been blamed for the constant traffic snarl-ups on the highway.

Transporters and police in Mombasa have raised concern over the slow pace of the expansion of the road to ease traffic flow. Coast traffic boss Joshua Omukata boss said yesterday that the section is hampering the free flow of traffic on the busy highway.

He said the rains have aggravated the situation. "We can't actually tell what the contractors are doing since January. How can you take a year to construct a 200-metre stretch? This is the main cause of the problem of the many traffic snarl ups," said Omukata on phone.

Kenya National Highways Authority director general Meshach Kidenda threatened to take action against the contractor for failing to complete the work as scheduled.

"We have taken this seriously and within a week, action is going to be taken against the contractor if he fails to explain the cause for the delayed completion of that road section," he said on phone.

The jam left transporters counting loses and delayed deliveries of cargo to and from Mombasa and Nairobi. Newspapers and other deliveries to Mombasa delayed with the Star newspaper arriving in Mombasa at 11am.

Buses scheduled to leave Mombasa for Nairobi at 6pm were stuck at Jomvu until 10pm. A passenger only identified as Rose using Chania Bus, which left Mombasa at 9pm, said she had spent 13 hours on a seven-hour journey.

Marsh East Africa company general manager Lennox Shalo said they are losing Sh500,000 daily because of the delays at the section under construction.

"This is hurting the transport sector. It's not Mash alone, but the situation is affecting all players in the industry," said Shalo. He urged the government to expand the road to ease traffic flow.

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