Friday, May 27, 2011

Our pathetic road network....

When it rains anywhere in our country, one of the first 'infrastructure' to suffer the consequences are our limited and questionable road network. While up-country roads are getting some attention from the various 'fixers', Coast Province and especially Mombasa (city?!), has not had a singe new road built to accommodate the rapid increase in traffic. In fact, nobody pays much attention to even maintaining what already exists!

Only when the damage to the road reaches a disastrous level will some short fix be applied. One of these short fixes is that a gang of Municipal workers arrive to supposedly 'clean' and 'unblock' the drains and then, sometimes a truck load of stones and other debris is brought to the scene of a huge pothole and emptied there. Of course, this just makes the problem worse because promptly that the next time we get a deluge in the form of rain, all that will quickly flow away and literally go down the same drain that had recently been 'unblocked' and the whole process will repeat itself and continue ad infinitum!!!

Everyday, since the rains started, I watch with sympathy all the road users outside our estate gate and the problems that the broken road and huge potholes create for everybody. The poor pedestrians, young and old, able and disabled have a truly hard time wading through all that water of various depth. Then, come the small saloon cars which are so low that at times the water goes into the cars through the doors and/or the engines. The 'owners' of our estate then compound problems by dumping huge stones into the potholes without thinking about the effect these will have on cars and the tyres. They are very big and sharp.

Then, despite this being a residential area, a shipping company has been allowed to open their offices next to our estate (Sea Bulk), which attracts all kinds of heavy vehicles which our already damaged road network cannot stand and they further damage the road.

Add to this, the countless water tankers that come and go along this road including entering our estate to deliver much needed water. Why? Because, our Water Board and Company are not providing the residents with much needed piped water. In fact, there is a huge commercial well/borehole at the turn-off from the main Nyali Road to our estate where lots of tankers are constantly filling up and the people to whom the borehole belongs do a booming business everyday supplying countless Mombasa residents with water. These, of course, due to the constant watery condition at that part of the road, is very damaged and nothing is done about it.

Why isn't there some kind of restriction regarding the traffic that is allowed onto certain roads leading to residential areas? Since, indiscriminate vehicles use this road, it is like living in an industrial area rather than a residential one. These buses, trucks, trailers, etc., are also allowed to hoot at all kinds of hours and rev to their hearts content.

About one and a half weeks ago, I called Eng. Munene who is in-charge of Urban Roads in Mombasa and he was good enough to come and see me and he experienced first hand the pathetic condition of the road outside our estate gate. It seems that while the Ministry of Works is supposed to build our roads, they still have to rely on our questionable and incompetent Council for the drainage along the roads. This, of course, creates a lot of problems since they have nothing planned which they can give to the various engineers who will fix our roads, in the way of drainage. Whatever was there in the first place built by the British, has already been made useless when making town roads was under our Council. They just resurfaced our roads without fixing the drainage and hence, we continue to suffer from awful roads everytime the rainy season starts and the 'drains' get blocked which in turn makes water collect which in turn damages our limited roads!!!

They (the Council), have been so incompetent and unprofessional when 'resurfacing' roads that they don't even raise the drainage covers to the same level as the roads so that people and cars don't lend in them.

Since we pay an arm and a leg every time we buy petrol in the form of road levy, etc., why are Mombasa roads not maintained and upgraded and more built to deal with the increasing traffic? Our government is literally collecting millions EVERY SINGLE DAY from just Coast Province residents in this manner so why isn't this money put back into fixing, maintaining and making new roads here?
There is not a single new road built in Mombasa since independence.

And who is responsible for the damage and inconvenience these roads cause to people and vehicles? In any other 'civilized' countries the government and/or the Council is sued for damages. But, in our country where there is no accountability and justice, this is an unheard of thing, unfortunately.  This is very disgusting.

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