The State of the Roads in Mombasa

I believe it was in Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen) that it was said ‘If you have nothing nice to say, reserve your comments to the weather and the state of the roads’.

Well, it’s hot and humid in Mombasa…yup that’s about it.

Now, I heard from a quasi-reliable source that they (not sure who ‘they’ are) are replacing matatus with buses in Mombasa.

Now, you’ve been to Mombasa, right? The roads are wide enough for tuk-tuks with barely enough room for personal cars. Matatus are a nightmare with their over-lapping and reckless driving and now you want to add buses into the mix.

Case in point. There’s a road just off the Mombasa-Malindi highway, after the Nyali bridge that is an accident waiting to happen. It’s a pretty thin road, maybe a one-lane (but who knows anymore, with the road blurring into the sandy ‘sidewalk’). In recent times, matatus have taken to using it as a shortcut to Mshomoroni, and now there’s a minibus service to the area. Coupled with the emergence of a new roadside market, being a pedestrian has become mighty dangerous.

Oh, and don’t be fooled that the vehicles move in moderate speed, the two bumps there do little to temper their pace.

This is repeated throughout most of the highly populated areas, such as Bamburi and Bombolulu.

Plus there are no real stages for PSVs. So how are they meant to function with buses?

And the roads themselves. Pot-holes and sand everywhere. I understand the climatic conditions together with the actual structure of the underlying rock plus the trucks using the roads may have something to do with the rampant wear and tear, but isn’t that what maintenance is all about? What? No one will fix the roads till they become dust trails in the tourist capital of Kenya?

That’s not very bright.

Which brings me to the Mombasa-Nairobi highway. What the heck? The construction reached Mariakani and stopped. Making an otherwisely pleasantly smooth ride hell for at least a little while. Did they run out of materials/money? Is it an ongoing project that’s just on pause? What’s happening?

Kwani Pwani si Kenya?

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