The anticipated completion of two bypasses around Meru town will come as good news to residents who have railed against traffic gridlocks for several years.
There are limited routes to access Meru town from many areas and motorists from Nairobi side only access it through the Kathita Bridge.
Workers, residents and others in Meru town and its environs have fumed about the traffic congestion which has affected business and other activities.
On weekdays getting into town from Makutano, Nkubu and surrounding areas is a nightmare which has frustrated motorists and commuters.
But the on-going construction of the eastern and western bypasses is expected to ease the traffic flow in Meru town where all types of vehicles, including heavy trucks and those ferrying miraa, pass through. In addition a planned dual carriageway to start at Gitimbine near the entry to Meru town and end at Gitoro, a stretch of over three kilometres, will ease traffic flow in the area.
The bypasses will provide an avenue for the heavy vehicles and passenger ones, which have been cited as major çulprits causing the gridlocks.
“Meru town is growing fast and with it has come the problem of traffic congestion. It is a problem that has led to economic losses as a lot of man hours are lost in gridlocks,” says Kenneth Mwenda, the chairman of Kenya National Chamber of Commerce (Meru branch).
Mr Mwenda and fellow directors of the trade association; Joshua Mungania and Salesio Mutea called for acceleration of the on-going eastern and western bypasses.
“As the business community we are affected by incessant traffic jams in Meru town and many other trading areas around it. It is our hope that works to complete the twin bypass project is completed soonest possible,” said Mr Mungania, the chairman of Meru Hoteliers Association.
The western bypass project covering some 11.4 kilometers begins at Gikumene, off the Meru-Chuka road, cutting through Giantune and connects with the Meru-Nanyuki highway at Gitoro in Makutano area.
The 11.6 kilometer eastern bypass starts at Gikumene and passes through Mati road and Meru-Mikinduri road and connects with Meru-Maua road at Kaithe.
Residents who gave up their land in return for about Sh700 million four years ago are frustrated that the 23 kilometre project has not been completed.
The construction was originally planned to be completed by September 2016.
“We have about Sh3 million remaining and we want to use it to build 10 single rooms and five bedsitters. My brother works in a bank and he told us many companies want to build offices along the bypass. He said Meru town is too congested and many businesses want to move to quieter areas,”Mr Mutwiri, a local resident told The Mashariki News.
It is a sentiment that Gabriel Miungi, the former chairman of the local chamber of commerce who is also a director at the national level, shares.
“The rapid growth of Meru town has been a blessing to business community and it has also created many jobs for the residents. But the increased economic activities have led to a lot of traffic on our roads, such that even finding parking in Meru town is sometimes a nightmare,” said Mr Miungi.
He said many new businesses and expansion of existing ones along the bypasses will ease congestion and lead to efficiency.