The Infrastructure Ministry has commenced the re-erection of speed bumps that they had removed at Gachororo and Highpoint areas in Juja town following increased hit and run cases of pedestrians as they attempt crossing the highway.
The move follows the many peaceful demonstrations held in the area with residents protesting over several cases in which pedestrians have lost their lives after being hit by vehicles while crossing the highway.
About three months ago, the Kenya Highways Authority (KenHA) removed bumps and sealed off the area with grills and barbed wire. Some of the residents have been reportedly jumping over the barriers to cross the road.
Addressing residents after commissioning the re-erection of the speed bumps, Infrastructure Secretary Francis Gitau said works to re-erect the bumps will commence immediately and will be completed by Friday.
He said though it would cause traffic on the highway, speed bumps would save lives. “Consultants felt speed bumps on a busy highway are unnecessary and would cause traffic, but the lives of the people matter,” said Gitau.
He was accompanied by Kiambu Governor Dr. James Nyoro who said plans to erect a foot bridge on the area regarded as a black spot are at an advanced stage.
Nyoro said the speed bumps will be temporary as the government consolidates funds to erect the foot bridge. He said three people had lost their lives as they attempted to cross the highway in the past one week.
During the removal of the speed bumps, KeNHA advised pedestrians to use the footbridge that is more than two kilometers away at Sewage stage. Residents felt the bridge was far and inconvenienced them, with some making their way through the grills and crossing the deadly road.
Recently, a secondary school student was knocked down and killed by a speeding car as she crossed the road, causing fury among locals. The protesters said the removal of the bumps led to the closure of small businesses in the area as many customers no longer pass there.
Young children have also been inconvenienced as they are forced to walk far to reach school.
“We have suffered huge losses as our customers don’t come here anymore. We want local leaders including our Governor and aspirants to address our plight,” said Veronica Wangui, who runs a food kiosk, during the protest.
Commuters lamented that they were badly inconvenienced and had to meet an extra cost by paying Boda Bodas to get to their destinations.
The area has a large population of students from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology who have to cross the highway to access their hostels.
By Muoki Charles