Operator Explains Massive Jam on Nairobi Expressway, Offers Solution

A traffic snarl-up along the Nairobi Expressway at the Museum Hill tolling centre.
Lameck Muriithi

Moja Expressway, the company charged with managing the Nairobi Expressway, on Monday, May 16 addressed the traffic snarl up witnessed on sections of the elevated road.

Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke on anonymity, an official revealed that the congestion witnessed at the Museum Hill exit was caused by an influx in number of motorists who were using the cash and manual modes of payment.

The official explained that using cash requires the attendants at the toll stations to return change to the customers, while the  Manual Toll Card  (MTC) requires motorists to stop and tap their cards to pay.

The Nairobi East toll station of Nairobi Expressway.
The Nairobi East toll station of Nairobi Expressway.
Daily Nation

"A number of motorists were paying for their trip in cash and this transaction takes longer. We also witnessed a lot of MTC users, where drivers are required to tap to pay, and that explains the long queues," he explained.

The official further confirmed that all four tolling points were fully operational including the single lane used for Electronic Toll Card (ETC). He noted that while the ETC was faster, they temporarily converted it into a manual station to accommodate the manual payers.

"All points were serving including the ETC lane which charges vehicles automatically using a device installed on the vehicles. However, we had to use it for the MTC  payments to rapidly work on eliminating the stalemate," he added.

Nonetheless, he stated that there may be a need to engage the Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) on a possible expansion of the tolling centre since it is the exit point for motorists.

"We are communicating with KeNHA on a possible addition of lanes because that is the only exit to Nairobi CBD for people who are coming from Nairobi East, "he disclosed.

The traffic congestion sparked reactions from the public with some questioning the feasibility of the roadway to end the traffic menace that has bedeviled the city for years. Others opined that that was in line with the trial phase purpose.

"Traffic on the expressway, surely!" Lameck Muriithi exclaimed. " They need to do away with the MTC cards on the Nairobi Expressway; exiting using the ETC lane is quite fast but the lane was blocked by guys with MTC cards and probably cash," Victor SM added.

"There was a technical issue at the exit which was sorted. This was at the Chiromo exit. I stayed there for about 30 minutes...No need for an alarm," Chris Sunday stated.

The Nairobi Expressway was officially opened to the public on Saturday, May 14, on a trial basis. The period was to allow the government to identify and rectify any errors on the roadway before its official launch.

Notably, Moja Expressway announced that it will not accept payment using mobile money wallets at the moment, only allowing cash, MTC or ETC payments.

Motorists have also presented with rules on proper usage of road, failure to which one will be liable to pay fines with an excess of up to Ksh8.8 million -damage to the Cantilever variable information board which provides direction details.

Nairobi Expressway project near Chiromo road interchange
Nairobi Expressway project near Chiromo Road interchange
Moja Expressway