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Resident decry pathetic road

Residents  of  Kilimambogo  area in Thika East Sub County have called on the government to fast-track tarmacking of the Ol  Donyo  Sabuk -Tala  road to open up the area and link them to markets in lower parts of Eastern region.

The  tarmacking  of  the 35 kilometre  stretch was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta seven years ago but has since  stalled.

A  spot  check by KNA established that only less than 10 kilometres from Tala to Kisukioni is tarmacked, while the remaining   stretch is characterized by deep holes in the middle and edges of the road, making it narrow and hard for matatus to  overtake one another.

Meanwhile, only a few old matatus continue to brave the rough terrain as other drivers have withdrawn their vehicles to  favorable routes.

Drivers  who  spoke to the press said they abandoned the rough route after being forced to take their vehicles for routine  maintenance thrice a week, thus consuming almost all of their returns.

“A  number  of  matatus  have broken down on this road. It is a risky and tiresome stretch that drains us completely. If  tarmacked, one  can take up to five trips a day. However, currently we only take two,” said Simon Muema, a Kilimambogo  Sacco driver.

Another driver, Antony Gitau plans to withdraw his vehicle in the coming month saying it was making loss.

“Most  of  the money goes to garages. During the rainy season, the road is deplorable and no one can dare to risk his  vehicle in this road lest you cause an accident,” he said.

Commuters complained of hiked fares, tiresome journeys and long time before one gets to their destination.

Ambrose  Ngige, a  resident of Kilimambogo and also a vegetable trader at Tala market said transporting agricultural produce  through the route has not only been expensive but also time consuming.

“Before  I  arrive at Tala market three hours later, I’m either tired or the state of my goods does not attract the market,”  he  said.

Commuters  mostly  from Thika East Sub County said the road has been a big letdown especially in times of emergencies.

“Taking  someone  to  hospital  or  an  expectant mother to deliver  is  a risky  affair. Accident victims of snake bites or  wildlife  attacks from the nearby Ol Donyo Sabuk game reserve also suffer. Accessing basic services is a problem,” said  Pastor Stephen Ngumbau of the Restoration Ministries.

The  tarmacking of  the road was meant to link Kiambu and parts of Upper Eastern Counties to the lower Eastern parts  through Machakos town.

The  area  is  also  agriculturally  productive  given  the  many  coffee estates that the road cuts through and the newly  established pineapple farms owned by the Delmonte Company.

By  Wangui  Mbuthia/ Muoki Charles

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