Q&A With KURA Boss Silas Kinoti: “We Have Piloted Intelligent Transport System (ITS) to Reduce Traffic”

September 1, 2020

Director General of the Kenya Urban Roads Authority(KURA), Silas Kinoti, responds to questions from the public via Daily Nation.

Congratulations for upgrading Outer Ring Road, which has reduced the journey time between Thika Road and Airport North from hours to just a few minutes. However, you need to find a solution on loading zones to remove public service vehicles from the carriageway. What plans do you have on other major urban arterial roads within Nairobi, like Kasarani-Mwiki Road, Kamiti Road, Juja Road, Komarock Road and Naivasha Road? Eng Gitonga Z, Nairobi Metropolitan Services

We upgraded Outer Ring Road to reduce travel time between Thika Highway and Mombasa Road from two hours to 11 minutes. This has been achieved. Traffic flow, however, experiences minimal delays as PSVs keep picking passengers on the corridor yet we have adequate bus bays along the whole section of the road. Kura is working on the installation of the last footbridge which should be done in the next few weeks. I call upon the public to use designated pedestrian crossings and PSVs to pick passengers at bus stops. Plans are at advanced stage to increase the capacities of all other arterial corridors you have mentioned. Dualling of Kasarani–Mwiki Road, James Gichuru Road, Limuru Road and Kiambu Road is underway, while Juja Road is planned as a BRT corridor and will be expanded. We also plan to dual Ngong Road from Karen to Ngong town and expand Naivasha Road.

There is often some confusion among the public as to who ‘owns’ which road between Kura and Kenha. How can the public tell which road belongs to which agency? Francis Njuguna, Kibichoi.

All the three authorities were formed through The Kenya Roads Act, 2007. Kura was formed to manage national urban road networks and has presence in all county headquarters as well as other major towns in the country. KeNHA was mandated to manage national trunk roads, while Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) is mandated to manage rural road network as well as roads that connect one county to another, and other classified roads in small towns.

The Ngara Road stretch from Fig Tree junction to Gymkhana has been worn-out for over three years. How long will we wait before the road is recarpeted? Mellow Investments, Nairobi.

Ngara Road is among many other roads due for rehabilitation in the next few months under our programme with Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS). We have already procured contractors to rehabilitate it and other roads in Westlands, Parklands and the CBD.

What is your authority doing to stem the vandalism of safety gear and signs across the country? Komen Moris, Eldoret.

We have engaged the public, police and other stakeholders in trying to solve this problem. We are in consultation with the Inspector-General of Police for formation of a dedicated unit to deal with vandalism on our roads. We have piloted this in Nairobi and achieved very good results. We are also engaging institutions of higher learning to come up with alternative and non-reusable materials for use as road furniture. My appeal to the public is to support this initiative by reporting those vandalising public facilities intended to serve all of us. We also appeal to those businesses benefitting from this vice to stop. The law will catch up with them and it will be very punitive.

You oversaw construction of Ngong Road, one of the finest roads in Kenya. Are there plans to build similar roads in Nairobi and other urban centres in the country in the near future? Zachary Ochieng’, Kisumu County.

Thanks for the compliment. We are planning to expand major roads in Nairobi and other towns. In Kisumu, for example, we are upgrading and modernising more than 10 kilometres of roads and contractors are already on the ground. Kura commits to always maintain standards in expanding our streets to make them friendly for use by all — motorised and non- motorised — traffic.

What should Kenyans expect in terms of improvement of the urban road infrastructure, especially in Nairobi? Marcus Muli.

We will continue to implement ongoing road works as well as new road projects. We intend to reach out to other upcoming small towns as well as improving access to major public institutions and other national strategic installations. Kura is determined to increase Non-Motorist Transport (NMTS) facilities to improve public safety.

As I lead KURA to the next level, I am very much aware that the world is becoming a global village through information technology. We will leverage on technology to reduce traffic congestion in our towns and wholesomely manage our road network. We have piloted the use Intelligent Transport System (ITS) to reduce congestion in our roads. Nairobi residents can bare me witness that the traffic snarl-ups we used to have along the Ring Road Kilimani corridor (Prestige Mall Junction—Yaya Centre—Ring Road Kileleshwa—Arboretum—Weslands Roundabout) are a thing of the past. We have used modern technology to achieve this.

During public participation hearings for the planned elevation of Nakuru Town to city status local residents, members of the business community and other stakeholders vouched for the implementation of an Integrated Urban Transport Master Plan in the road sector to cater for, among others, pedestrian walkways and security cameras. What will Kura do actualise this? Dan Murugu, Nakuru

Kura has been one of the key partners in the struggle by Nakuru to attain a city status by constructing over 25 kilometres of new tarmac in the last three years. We also note that the town is increasingly becoming congested and we will continue to upgrade town roads as well as plan to introduce new arterial roads. The success of Kura ITS system in Nairobi will be replicated in other towns, including Nakuru in the near future. We also recently completed feasibility studies and preliminary engineering designs for the Nakuru Northern bypass, which will divert traffic at Mbaruk through Maili Kumi and join the Nakuru-Kisumu road at Sobea.

Majority of trips in Kenya are made by walking and cycling, with only a small per cent made by private cars, which are predominantly found in Nairobi, yet priorities on the streets do not serve the needs of the majority. Kenya developed a non-motorised policy in 2015. What are you doing to implement the policy in order to improve the walking and cycling environment and catalyse investment in non-motorised transport? Raphael Obonyo, Nairobi.

We have constructed over 600 kilometres of footpaths and cycle paths in the country and also invested in the building of footbridges to increase public safety. Our design for urban road network considers the provision of the facilities as research has shown that over 50 per cent of urban dwellers walk to and from work. We are implementing modern street designs geared towards making our streets liveable and attractive for everyone.

Unlike most urban centres, Busia town, which is the headquarters of Busia County, has literally no road classified under Kura. Are we in your plans on matters road development? James Ouma, Busia County.

Yes, there currently are no roads classified as national urban roads in Busia and we are undertaking feasibility studies and preliminary designs of several roads there and in Vihiga for purposes of understanding the network which may lead to prioritised resource allocation.

You have over 20 years’ experience in the management of road infrastructure in the country. What, in your view, are some of the key challenges facing the road construction sector? Paul Mbugua, Kiambu County.

We have the usual challenges of inadequate resources, road corridor encroachment, vandalism, expensive land acquisition for design accommodation, and abuse of road use protocols. Why do we have this inherent perception that being a roads contractor is the ticket to quick economic empowerment? We have local contractors who cannot compete with their international counterparts. Infrastructure development is a key enabler to economic development of any middle income economy like ours. There is therefore a need for the government to deploy more resources to support infrastructural improvement. In my opinion, this sector should be regulated, just like the energy sector, to get value for every shilling.

Sir, can you demonstrate compliance to legal and statutory requirement in environment, Occupational Health and Safety in the KURA development activities? Dominic Kangogo, Moiben, Uasin Gishu County

Kura is ISO 9001:2015 certified. We conduct governance and Legal Compliance Audit as required by relevant laws. I can comfortably say KURA is a highly compliant institution. We adhere to all requirements on safety and the environment.  We undertake Environmental and Social Impact Assessment in all our projects and safety is given top priority in all our activities. We have a fully-fledged Department of Environment and Safety Safeguards.

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