In May 2017, the current Kiambu Governor, Mr. Ferdinand Waititu, together with the former Thika MP, Ms Alice Ng’ang’a initiated the construction of a diversion at Chania bridge near Blue Post Hotel, Thika.
Most residents welcomed the construction of the diversion, as the single lane bridge has been a major cause of traffic congestion in and out of Thika town. However, controversy surrounded the construction as the ownership of the land on which the diversion was done was contested.
While the effort by the leadership is laudable, long-term solution within the set quality standards is needed. Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has raised concerns on the quality and the integrity of the bridge being used by the outbound traffic. The authority decried that the bridge wasn’t designed to handle heavy traffic, as it is currently handling. The authority issued a statement that the design of the bridge was to only handle pedestrian and motorcycles traffic. Hence, subjecting it to heavy weight vehicles exposes users to danger. These two issues (ownership and quality) cannot be just wished away.
For a long-term solution, all the agencies and stakeholders should be engaged in order to develop a long-term solution. Kiambu County Government, KeNHA and the lands commission should engage land owner(s) around the bridge to work out compensation for those who will be affected.