Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mombasa - Nairobi Highway

Happy New Year!

Drove down to Mombasa for new years. The new highway is almost all done now. There are still a couple of short diversions around Athi River but other than that, it is all new road.

Worryingly, on the drive back, I noticed that the stretches that were re-built first (between Mariakani and Voi) have started showing signs of developing potholes. There are actually two or three potholes already and certain stretches now have the tell-tale undulations (caused by lorries) that are a sure sign potholes are not far behind.


By the time the Nairobi - Machakos stretch is fully done, the Mombasa - Voi stretch will need repairs. And as we all know, the quality of patchwork repairs done on our roads forever compromises the quality of the roads.

I am sure the road cannot be more than 5-6 years old. Is this the lifespan of our roads? Was the road built to sufficiently high standard to accommodate the traffic it carries?

I do not think it is sustainable to invest so heavily in roads that start falling apart in less than 10 years. Real concerted effort needs to be placed in ensuring no overloaded vehicles use our roads and roads are built to last for 10 even 20 or 30 years.


  1. Actually, the Voi stretch was built almost 10 years ago. The quality of workmanship was superb and, at the time, the Mtito Andei - Bachuma Gate road built by the Chinese was described as the best road in sub-Saharan Africa. I have also seen potholes developing but this can be attributed to:
    - Poor drainage due to bushes left to grow to the side of the road.
    - Fires burnt after accidents or by protestors.
    - Of course, overloading.

  2. Really?...its been 10 years? I stand corrected on that. It's still not long enough in my opinion but as you say there are other factors in play..especially overloading.

    I had hoped the setting up of KRB would see the introduction of highway patrols to carry out the small maintenance tasks like clearing bushes & unblocking drainage.

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