Movement between Mavoloni and Ngoliba areas in Gatanga and Thika constituencies has been eased after the opening of a Sh25 million bridge linking the two villages.
The bridge constructed by the government through the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) in partnership with the Thika Town Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) passes over the Thika River.
Residents were joyous and relieved saying the years of suffering and frustrations of having to risk their lives crossing hippo-infested river using makeshift boats as it was previously, is now gone.
“We have undergone years of frustrations of having to cross this dangerous river. We have feared for our children who had to cross from one side to attend school on the other end. The river has killed several people. We have lacked services for being restricted on one side of the river. All these problems have been solved. We are happy about this project,” said Mary Waithera, a resident.
Traders recounted how they would travel far distances through winding routes to reach their destinations, thus incurring huge losses and wasting valuable time.
“We either used bodabodas to ferry our goods which would move several kilometers before they could reach their destinations. The suffering was not only expensive but a waste of our time,” said Peter Kilonzo, a trader.
The previous bridge collapsed two years ago, forcing residents to either swim in the waters or use a makeshift boat to cross the other side.
Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina when opening the bridge said, 10 kilometres on each side of the bridge have been graveled to ease movement.
He asked residents to protect the steel bridge from being vandalized by unscrupulous scrap metal dealers.
“You should guard this bridge as your own property and guard it against vandalism by unscrupulous scrap dealers. We are highly optimistic that it would open the area to business and spur growth in this region,” he said.
He said the bridge has the capacity to support a seven tonne truck.
It will act as a bypass for those travelling from the Nyeri-Thika highway towards Garissa road who want to avoid Thika town.
Wainaina at the same time said plans are underway to construct a similar bridge across River Athi in Ngoliba to serve residents who commute between Machakos and Ngoliba in Kiambu County.
He called for patience as his office lobbied for funds for the exercise.
By Muoki Charles