A broken bridge and heavy rains has caused fears of drowning among residents of Ngoliba in Thika East Sub County who have been forced to swim through Thika River to access services in the neighbouring Gatanga areas in Murangá County.
It becomes a bigger challenge to class eight and form four candidates who have to sit for their final exams in the other county, especially after the commencement of the March rains.
The residents fear that they may be swept away by strong rains and face attacks from hippos and crocodiles.
Kiviatu Wambua one of the residents said despite raising the issue with their local leaders, nothing has been done. “We have raised the concerns with our leaders since the bridge was swept away by flash floods in December but nothing has been forthcoming. During the rains, we fear some people may be swept away by strong currents while trying to cross the river,” he said.
He added that their movement to the other side of Murang’a County has been grounded for three months affecting their operations and sources of livelihood.
They are forced to use alternative routes which is seven kilometers away to reach their destinations or pay Sh50 per trip to cross the other side of the river.
Their greatest concern is that the bridge may not even be constructed after it emerged that the site has been reserved for the construction of a dam.
“We have been told that the government intends to construct a major dam where the broken bridge is, ending our pursuit for repair of the bridge. However, since it may take some years before work begins and therefore, it would be helpful if they put up a temporary structure to help for the time being,” he said.
Patrick Mutua, who helps residents to cross over using his boat said maneuvering strong currents and crocodiles and hippos in during the rainy seasons has been a challenge.
Recently, Thika MP Patrick Wainaina and his Gatanga counterpart Nduati Ngugi said they are working on modalities to construct a permanent bridge to end the problem.
Wainaina said they have consulted with Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) engineers from both counties to facilitate the Construction.
“Our aim is to have a permanent solution, not only for the learners but also residents who have to cross over. This will boost economic development in the two counties. We are working on it and hope works to begin soon,” said Wainaina.
By Muoki Charles