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Motorists endure traffic nightmare on newly built Nairobi Expressway

An accident on Mombasa Road on Tuesday afternoon near Gateway Mall spilled over into the newly built Nairobi Expressway subjecting many motorists to a traffic nightmare that lasted for hours.

Motorists who found themselves stuck on Mombasa Road attempted to avoid the building snarl-up by switching to the expressway.

The number of motorists using the newly-built expressway hit 23,600 on Friday last week barely a week after it was opened.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport James Macharia attributed the uptick in usage to the Sh89 billion road’s efficiency which has improved the city’s mobility system.

But that efficiency was tested on Tuesday, as a huge traffic snarl up build up with motorists experiencing traffic at exits along Mombasa Road. The tailback is said to have started at Syokimau all the way to Mlolongo.

TRAFFIC ADVISORY

Motorist along Mombasa Road are advised of a Traffic Snarl up near Gate way Mall. The Traffic Snarl up was caused by a truck that rammed on the Express Way barricade. The truck has since being cleared.

— Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) (@KeNHAKenya) May 24, 2022

Motorists decried spending more time on the Expressway as the payment process took longer than expected and were left stuck there for hours while traffic on the normal lane continued to flow after the accident had been cleared.

Moja Expressway, a subsidiary of China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), will operate the road for 27 years to recoup through toll fees money spent on building it.

The firm has been scanning cars at the entry point and charging the toll fees at the vehicle exit points.

Currently there are three modes of payment the Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) and Manual toll collection (MTC), and cash, but on Tuesday some motorists insisted on paying via mobile money platforms despite being notified that the method was not permitted at the entry point.

Some road users have also raised concerns about the amount of time spent making payments on the Expressway which is on a trial basis.

The exits and entrances of the 27-km road have created choke points which lead to traffic snarl-ups as motorists queue to pay to use the road.

The cost of using the road from the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) station in Mlolongo and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to Westlands is Sh300 from Sh260, while those travelling from Capital Centre to the same destination will pay Sh180.

According to CS Macharia, some 7,000 motorists have paid toll fees using electronic means.

The dual carriageway has 11 interchanges at Mlolongo, Standard Gauge Railway, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Eastern Bypass, Southern Bypass, Capital Centre, Haile Selassie Avenue, Museum Hill, Westlands and James Gichuru Road.

Motorists will require a special toll payment card to use the route. They will need to apply for it by visiting the service centre located at the Nairobi Expressway Plaza on Mombasa Road.

They will fill out a subscriber registration form, present a national ID or passport and a copy of their vehicle’s logbook, and pay a minimum of Sh1,000 (inclusive of VAT).

They will then be issued with an On-Board Unit (OBU), a device to be installed on their vehicle and activated. Next, they will purchase toll points.

“Load toll points into your OBU device, which will be a minimum of Sh2,000 and valid for one year,” says Moja Expressway.

The expressway, with 18.2km on the ground and 8.9km elevated, is a class A, four-lane dual carriageway with an initial design speed of 80km per hour.

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