Nairobi Expressway: Glaring Design Flaws Raise Eyebrows

The Nairobi West entry to Expressway (left) and a pillar constructed on a pedestrian's pavement.
The Nairobi West entry to Expressway (left) and a pillar constructed on a pedestrian's pavement.

With just 72 hours to the opening of the Ksh88 billion Nairobi Expressway, Kenyans have raised concerns over what they believe are design flaws that may affect the highway's effectiveness.

From drainage to pavements and a wire mesh, the motorists and commuters have expressed frustrations on the new road that has rendered the old lower deck ineffective and impassable in some areas.

Although, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) - which is tasked with constructing the highway - has promised to repair all roads affected by its construction, Kenyans are still convinced that some of the flaws may not be sorted out in the long run.

Here are five of the flaws that have generated discussions online.

1. Poor Drainage

A drainage outlet constructed along the expressway
A drainage outlet constructed along the expressway.

The drainage menace began in mid-April after motorists raised concerns following a number of pipes hanging from the elevated deck and pouring rainwater onto the lower road.

The highway's management swiftly moved to rectify the situation and constructed vertical downspout drainage pipes descending down the pillars to the ground.

The lower road motorists, however, took an issue with the construction of the drainage outlets, some of which blatantly directed the water into the main road.

Many fear that during the rainy season, the piping system would inconvenience the motorists who already have to condone the perennial flooding along Waiyaki Way, Uhuru Highway and Mombasa Road every rain cycle.

2. Pavement Straight Into a Pillar

A pillar built on a pedestrian's pavement
A pillar built on a pedestrian's pavement.

Kenyans have for years lamented poor road designs in Nairobi that do not put into consideration the pedestrians who form a big part of the city's population.

The situation was worsened by the Nairobi Expressway construction that appeared to disregard the needs of the pedestrians by constructing pillars at the middle of pavements.

The construction makes it hard for both pedestrians and cyclists to move along the lower decker road with ease. That is despite the group being banished from accessing the upper decker road.

3. Drying Plants

When the project was first pitched, the design intended for the Expressway to be a lush green highway with overflowing plants. However, this is not the case.

Some plants, especially those attached to the highway's pillars, have begun withering and it seems the management in charge is not taking proper measures to revive them.

Although Moja Expressway confirmed to the press that a team was set up to ensure the project stays alive, more and more plants have continued to wither.

Many Kenyans are now concerned about the company's capability to sustain the plants and the highway given that some had withered just weeks after planting began.

4. Wire Mesh on the Highway

Prior to the construction of the Nairobi Expressway, crossing Mombasa Road was a momentary event. Today, crossing the same road is a full-fledged event that requires meticulous planning.

In an attempt to minimise pedestrian activities on the busy highway, the constructors put up a wire-mesh right at the center making it hard to cross with ease.

With footbridges situated kilometers apart, pedestrians have complained that it takes longer to cross the road hence inconveniencing their activities.

5. Traffic at Entry Points.

Some motorists are not confident that the Nairobi Expressway will eliminate traffic from the lower road as much as its top billing suggests.

The doubts emanate from the requirements of the payment at the entry points of the highway, which many believe will cause a snarl-up as each motorist awaits to make their deposits.

The challenge will also affect the overall traffic flow especially when the systems used to monitor vehicles on the highways develop a technical problem.

The snarl-up will also be worsened in case an accident occurs atop the two-lane highway.

Sections of withered plants along the Nairobi Expressway
Sections of withered plants along the Nairobi Expressway.
  • .