Congestion headache for fast-growing Marsabit Town

Monday June 19 2017

Pedestrians walk on the newly-tarmacked road in Marsabit Town. The new facelift of the town has come with its challenges - congestion, lack of parking and proper drainage system and lack of pedestrian paths. PHOTO | IRENE MWENDWA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Pedestrians walk on the newly-tarmacked road in Marsabit Town. The new facelift of the town has come with its challenges - congestion, lack of parking and proper drainage system and lack of pedestrian paths. PHOTO | IRENE MWENDWA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By IRENE MWENDWA
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After undergoing a facelift and getting a tarmac road a few months ago, Marsabit Town is facing new challenges as a result.

A spot check by the Nation showed that the town is congested with no parking slots, no drainage systems, no road signs and some parts also lack pedestrian paths.

Speaking to Nation in Marsabit Town on Monday, Mamo Elachade, a taxi driver, said that they are forced to park around a junction.

He said others park their taxi vehicles along the small pedestrian paths that have been provided.

A taxi driver in Marsabit Town says they are forced to park around a junction on the main road due to congestion. PHOTO | IRENE MWENDWA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A taxi driver in Marsabit Town says they are forced to park around a junction on the main road due to congestion. PHOTO | IRENE MWENDWA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“We have no parking slots yet the traffic and county [officials] insist that we park away from the roads,” said Mr Elachade.

Mr Elachade, however, said the town has changed and road users as well as business people will taste the good fruits of the road.

“We are happy the dust is no longer a bother and we have all weather roads but we are still seeking space for parking, road signs and pedestrian paths,” said Mr Elachade.

Boda boda riders in Marsabit Town say that they also need a place for parking. PHOTO | IRENE MWENDWA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Boda boda riders in Marsabit Town say that they also need a place for parking. PHOTO | IRENE MWENDWA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

OPEN DRAINAGE

Mohamud Dida, a pedestrian, told Nation that sometimes people are forced to walk in open drainage trenches in order to give way to motorbikes and vehicles.

He said at night, pedestrians cannot walk freely because there are no walkways and the trenches are open.

“There are two people who have broken their legs after they fell in these trenches. We have children who most of the times are victims,” said Mr Dida.

He added that the town has no drainage system and that the pipes that locals had installed were all broken when construction began.

Matatus, taxis, boda bodas and pedestrians jostle for space on the main road in Marsabit Town. PHOTO | IRENE MWENDWA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Matatus, taxis, boda bodas and pedestrians jostle for space on the main road in Marsabit Town. PHOTO | IRENE MWENDWA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

NO TAPPED WATER

He said investors had tapped water for their plots but at the moment most have no water connections because the taps were all destroyed.

“The town has no system to drain away waste water. When it rains these trenches will be flooded and cause more danger to our people,” said Mr Dida.

A week ago, a pedestrian was run over by a water truck in Marsabit Town as a result of the congestion.

The Nation spot check also showed that locals operate small businesses like selling milk and firewood along the roads and pedestrian paths.

A motorbike rider, Adan Shuma, said that they also need a place for parking.

He said they have been forced to park on the roads as they await customers.

Mr Adan added that motorbike accidents are on the rise in the town.

“It is dangerous because we risk being hit by other bikes and vehicles. Also, we cannot move with speed because we use the same road with pedestrians,” said Mr Shuma.

Pedestrians walk in the middle of the main road in Marsabit Town, the only open space left for them. Business people, taxis and boda boda riders use the roadside where walkways should be. PHOTO | IRENE MWENDWA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Pedestrians walk in the middle of the main road in Marsabit Town, the only open space left for them. Business people, taxis and boda boda riders use the roadside where walkways should be. PHOTO | IRENE MWENDWA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

PUBLIC HEALTH

A county government officer, Hassan Jillo, also said business operators in the town are burning waste in the open trenches.

He said they are also using the trenches as dumpsites which is a risk to public health.

“We are giving a warning to the locals and business operators who use the open trenches as dumpsites,” said Mr Jillo.

However, he said the construction of the road in the town in not yet complete, noting that the contractor has six more months to complete the job.

He also urged the boda boda riders to pack properly and strategically off the road in order to create more space in the town.

“The town is congested but we cannot blame the contractors since construction is not yet complete. Users of the road are however advised to use the roads with caution,” said Mr Jillo.