New Highway Leaves Ruaka Tenants in a Dilemma 

  • Ongoing road expansion along Limuru Road, October 28, 2020.
    Ongoing road expansion along Limuru Road, October 28, 2020.
    Eddy Mwanza
  • Tenants living within the Ruaka and Ndenderu areas are currently faced with the imminent challenge of moving houses against their wish following the ongoing expansion of the Northern bypass road.

    The contractors have been working their way down from Limuru and are currently working around Joyland area, which is at the heart of the residential apartments in the estate.

    The project has seen roadworks being carried out right at the gates of a number of apartments.

    "I really don't know what will happen next as some of us actually bought these houses," James Gitahi, a homeowner in the area stated while speaking to Kenyans.co.ke.

    Ongoing roadworks along Limuru road, October 28, 2020.
    Ongoing roadworks along Limuru road, October 28, 2020.
    Eddy Mwanza

    His is the story of hundreds of residents who are now stepping out of their houses and right into the messy construction.

    According to the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report for the dualling of the Eastern and Northern Bypasses, land use along the Northern Bypass land uses consist of residential estates such as Membley Estate, Kigwa ridge estate, hotels such as Windsor Golf Hotel and Country Club, retail businesses (supermarkets, shops), malls such as the recent Two Rivers Mall, churches, mosques as well as quarry sites.

    Once complete, the new dual carriage highway would place these houses right on the edge of the superhighway.

    The Northern Bypass is 20.2 km long, commencing at Ruaka on Nairobi- Limuru Road and ending at its junction with the Eastern Bypass. 

    Just like the Eastern Bypass, the sub-urban environment along the bypass has been characterised by the commercial and residential developments adjoining the highway.

    It was commissioned on October  18, 2016 by the Government of Kenya through its implementing agency, Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA)

    The current dilemma facing both tenants and landlords in Ruaka mirrors a similar crisis that was witnessed in March 2019, when landlords moved to court in a bid to stop the expansion of the Nairobi-Nakuru highway.

    1,200 landlords trooped to court as all their houses were marked for demolition to make way for the road.

    They went on to explain the crisis they were facing as tenants moved out the moment the tractors and earth-movers rolled into the area.

    Having built most of the houses using bank loans, the landlords pleaded for an amicable resolution.

    “We have shelved our decision to go to court and look for orders to stop the work until we are compensated. If the Senate report will not be favourable to us, we shall quickly move to court and stop the ongoing work," one of the landlords stated

    The affected landlords had properties between Kangemi and Kamandura, where there is an interchange of Maai Mahiu and Limuru road.

    Based on the developments in Ruaka, a similar confrontation is looming as residents grapple with the inevitable push to move.

    Supermarkets located in Ruaka's business district are all set up right next to Limuru Road, which could see them affected once the bulldozers make their way further down.

    The issue of poor urban planning has been mooted as the key reason for the constant conflicts that arise when the government commissions road expansion projects.

    See more photos from the ongoing roadworks below:

    Ongoing road expansion along Limuru Road, October 28, 2020.
    Ongoing road expansion along Limuru Road, October 28, 2020.
    Eddy Mwanza
    Roadworks along Limuru Road in Ruaka, October 28, 2020.
    Roadworks along Limuru Road in Ruaka, October 28, 2020.
    Eddy Mwanza
    Limuru road construction works in Ruaka, October 28, 2020.
    Limuru road construction works in Ruaka, October 28, 2020.
    Eddy Mwanza