Users of the busy road experienced a major traffic snarl-up that started at around 9pm on Thursday, August 26, spilling into the early hours of Friday, August 28.
Some road users were forced to spend the night on the road or seek alternative accommodation.
The traffic gridlock was caused by a road accident in the Mlolongo area of Machakos County, approximately 22kms from Nairobi’s Central Business District.
KeNHA says the traffic jam was worsened by overlapping motorists. It also says the drivers involved in the accident are to blame for failing to agree on a fast resolution, hence leading to a pile-up of vehicles on the busy highway.
â€œThe motorists involved in the accident had refused to agree between themselves on how to solve the issue, forcing them to wait for traffic police to come and intervene. It was during the wait that the traffic jam started building up,â€ KeNHA communications representative Sam Kumba, told the Standard.
He said the traffic stretched all the way to Athi River and extended to the Mlolongo service lane.
â€œThe accident led to heavy traffic that stretched all the way to Athi River. It also extended to the Mlolongo service lane. As a result, the gridlock affected vehicles moving towards Athi River and Mombasa directions from the central business district,â€ he added.
Responding to frustrated motorists, KeNHA now says it is making plans to expand the available parts of the road to two lanes even as the construction of the Expressway enters the homestretch.
He added that the agency of Friday, August 27, was mapping out the areas to be expanded.
â€œWe are working closely with the contractor and the [KeNHA] Director General to ensure that is done promptly,â€ he said.
The agency also assured residents plying the route that, moving forward, it would be informing motorists in advance on the expected interruption of traffic flow on the road.
â€œThis should be done immediately. We have asked the contractor to ensure two lanes are opened all the way, especially from the JKIA diversion, where Mombasa-bound motorists are currently using only one lane.â€