Driving To Deliver Your Business

Motorists stuck in cold for over ten hours as Mombasa Road goes on lockdown

Stranded travellers walk by the road side as they wait for more than 8 hours Traffic Jam to break between Athi River junction and Makutano junction. [Photo: Jonah Onyango/Abdul Sidi, Standard]

In summary

  • Traffic jam eased on Saturday at 10.30am
  • Situation worsened by heavy downpour, forcing some to keep engines running to keep warm
  • Motorists plying the road were trapped in a gridlock between Athi River junction and Makutano junction

Patrick Shizala was among hundreds of motorists who spent a cold rainy Saturday night on Mombasa Road. It was an ordeal of more than 14 hours for him and his family as they huddled together for warmth in their Toyota Wish, after their trip back to the city was halted at Machakos junction. ALSO READ: Mixed fortunes as heavy rains pound country[1]

He was caught in the snarl-up from 7pm on Saturday night until Sunday 10.30am when he made his way out of it. Shizala said he had travelled with his family to a wedding in Makueni County and had no plan to spend the night out of his house. “It is such an inconvenience but we had no choice,” he said.

Motorists plying the road were trapped in a gridlock between Athi River junction and Makutano junction. The traffic jam later eased for those getting into the city. Biting cold

It was a tormenting night for most motorists since they had no packed food, warm clothing and answered all their calls of nature in the nearby bushes. What worsened the situation was the heavy downpour that forced some of them to keep their engines running overnight to keep themselves warm. When The Standard visited the area, the road was completely on lockdown, with no space for the notorious Public Service Vehicles to overlap.

The rains were still pouring. ALSO READ: Brace for heavy rains: Met[2] Motorbikes became the mode of transport, especially for those who needed fuel and the ones in a hurry, but the fares were hiked by almost 100 per cent.

“You cannot blame me if I charge you Sh200 to get to Devki. Even us, there are places we cannot access,” said William Mulee, a boda boda operator. However, those who were most affected are the long distance transporters.

Majority of them were heading to Mombasa to pick goods. “I am from Kitale and I am taking foodstuff to Nunguni (Makueni). I have been here for four hours.

The last time I saw such a traffic snarl-up was in 2008. This is even worse,” said Japheth Mutua. Edward Ndung’u, one of the stranded motorists, said he was made aware of a minor accident that took place on Saturday evening.

This made other motorists to divert to avoid the scene. “The problem is the police took so long to come and this is the outcome,” said Ndung’u. Earlier on, the road was quite busy with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s motorcade and Gor Mahia’s fans on the route.

ALSO READ: Hailstones wreak havoc despite Met prediction[3] President Uhuru had travelled to Machakos to attend the burial of Raphael Waita, father of Chief of Staff of Presidential Delivery Unit. Gor Mahia fans were also in the area to cheer their team.

“I have a parents’ meeting at my son’s school in Machakos that was scheduled for 10am. But it is now 10.30am and I have not even accessed the main road,” complained Joshua Mosian from Kajiado. Police in the area said motorists were just impatient because of the rains.

The jam stretched from Makutano, Lukenya to Athi River. But while some complained, truck drivers took the opportunity to rest in anticipation of the long journey ahead. “Our plan is to load the truck tomorrow (today).

As long as we get to Mombasa by then, we have no problem,” said Daniel Kimondo.

References

  1. ^ Mixed fortunes as heavy rains pound country (www.standardmedia.co.ke)
  2. ^ Brace for heavy rains: Met (www.standardmedia.co.ke)
  3. ^ Hailstones wreak havoc despite Met prediction (www.standardmedia.co.ke)



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