UPDATE Friday, December 22: The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has revealed that the hours-long snarl-up experienced along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway was occasioned by increased festivities.
The authority, as a result, deployed its traffic marshalls to guide the traffic.
“The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) alerts motorists plying or planning to use the Nairobi – Nakuru Highway of a traffic snarl-up from Rironi occasioned by increased travel for festivities. Traffic police are actively managing the situation,” read the statement in part.
“Motorists are advised to maintain lane discipline and refrain from overlapping to prevent additional congestion. They can also use alternative routes.”
Travellers heading for the festivities have been left stranded along the Nairobi – Nakuru Highway after a traffic snarl-up was experienced at Soko Mjinga for over three hours.
According to motorists, the gridlock began at 7:00 am on Friday and was blamed on motorists who were overlapping.
Notable leaders including Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale were among those affected by the snarl-up.
“Stuck in a kilometres-long traffic jam as we snake our way to Kakamega. It’s consoling that a dual carriageway of the Nairobi to Mau Summit Junction is in our development blueprint,” he stated.
Motorists stuck in a gridlock at Soko Mjinga along the Nairobi – Nakuru Highway on December 22, 2023.
Motorists expressed their frustrations over the incident arguing that it had become a common occurrence during the festivities.
As a remedy, Kenyans called on the government to move fast and implement the dualling of the major highway as a lasting solution to the menace.
However, other travellers called on the police to rein in on motorists who were overlapping, with photos shared of vehicles trying to manoeuvre their way through the forests.
“Heavy traffic along the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway due to overlapping at Mukeu. You are advised to use alternative routes or plan for travel delays,” Ole Muga advised.
The Soko Mjinga gridlock barely comes hours after motorists were left stranded for over five hours at Mai Mahiu on Thursday. Overlapping was also reported as the major cause of the snarl-up.
Meanwhile, Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen warned that an action will be taken against those who violate traffic rules during the festive season.
He also noted that the government would reconsider the dualling of major highways as a means of dealing with traffic jams during high travel seasons such as Easter and Christmas.
“Thanks to the success of the Expressway, we are now receiving increasing demand for similar projects. We are therefore considering the dualling of the Rironi-Mau Summit Road expected to begin in the next year.
“A long-term plan to develop roads across the country is underway, some of these roads are; the Nairobi-Mombasa highway and Athi River-Namanga highways, Kisumu-Isibania and Kiambu Road,” Murkomen stated.
Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen conducts a meeting with taxi-hailing operators at his office on December 7, 2023.