SIMPLE LOW COST TRAFFIC JAM REDUCTION IN NAIROBI-A CASE STUDY OF LANGATA ROAD KWS TO BOMAS .
The Nairobi traffic jam seems to increase by the day.
The recent opening of the museum hill exchange has not cleared the Uhuru Highway-Waiyaki way jam.
I believe the problem can be reduced using the simplest lowest cost method-addition of side roads that are murram all-weather well maintained. These can be upgraded to tarmac once funds are available. These murram roads are a temporary measure until proper tarmac roads are constructed.
These are to be located only on specific locations where the widening of the road will reduce jam such as between KWS Langata road and Bomas.
BETWEEN KWS AND BOMAS-2011.edit. As at 2016, the road has since been dualled.
Areas such as between KWS Orphanage and Bomas of Kenya along Langata road usually have very heavy traffic jam due to the bottle-neck effect of the single lane dual carriage way from CBD towards Bomas of Kenya meeting the double lane single carriage way from KWS Orphanage to Bomas .
In such areas, the side roads can be graded and murramed to allow for excess traffic to spill over and ease the jam.
AROUND DAGORETTI CORNER ROUNDABOUT.
As at 2016, this area can be widened using murram roads. An even more effective measure is to widen the road using masonry cabbro-like blocks. Ngong town to Oloolua road has successfully used the masonry cabbro blocks method which is far much cheaper than a tarmac road.
The cost of doing a standard murram road 6 meters wide per Kilometer is approximately KES 1.5 Million. The cost of doing a standard tarmac road 6 meters wide is approximately KES 40 Million per kilometer. edit.As at 2016, the costs have increased to voer 100m per km.
This is approximately 27 times more expensive. It’s obvious the advantages that a tarmac road has over the murram road, beginning with the smoothness /comfortability of the drive, less dust emission and a more aesthetically appealing appearance.
Unfortunately, the Kenyan economy currently cannot be able to raise such figures due to very many reasons.
The little help that the Kenyan Government gets is from the China Government and this is only for major international roads.
The local interior roads cannot be able to benefit from this.
AMMOUNT OF MONEY WASTED IN THE JAM
The stretch between KWS Langata road and Bomas of Kenya is roughly 2 km in length.
An average car is 5 meters long, adding 1 meter in front and behind, this brings the length to 7 meters.
Therefore, at any given time during the jam, there will be 2000m[2km] divide by 7 = 285 cars.
The jam moves at an estimated time of 20 minutes i.e it takes a car an average of20 minutes to drive from KWS till Bomas. Therefore, within a span of 20 minutes, there will be 285 cars wasting fuel and time.
Assuming that each car spends 1 liter in the jam, the fuel per car will be 1 x KES 110= KES 110. Assuming that each car wastes 20 minutes of man-hours valued at KES 200 per hour, this brings it to a wastage of KES 40 per person. Assuming that each car carries an average of 3 people, the wastage will be KES 40 X 3 = KES 120.The total wastage for fuel plus human labor will be KES 110 + KES 120 =KES 230.
The wastage within the 20 minutes of jam will be KES 230 X 285 cars =KES 65,550. The wastage within 1 minute of jam will be KES 3,278.
Assuming the jam lasts for 5 hours [morning 2 hours and evening 3 hours], the total wasted time will be 5 x 60=300 minutes.
Therefore, the total wasted amount of money will be KES 3,278 x 300 minutes =KES 983,250[say KES 1m].
The above calculations are from a layman’s point of view. I believe statisticians can do a more accurate job on this.
Since the cost of a murram road for this stretch will be KES 3 Million, the money wasted on the same road is KES 1 Million per day, the Government of Kenya can recover the KES 3 million used to repair the road within a record 3 days.
This is a very feasible investment that will continue saving Kenyans over KES 1 milion per day for the longest time.
LAWS AND BYE LAWS
The current bye laws governing the design and construction of roads in Kenya specifically urban roads in Nairobi are vested within the Ministry of Roads and the Nairobi City Council.
These laws do not recognize use of murram road within such an urban set-up. Therefore, the concerned Ministry/VISION 2030 will have to initiate a change for the bye-laws to enable this.
CURRENT USAGE OF THE SIDE ROAD
In most urban set ups in Nairobi, the side roads are used as open storm water drainage, walkways and passage of overhead telecommunication and power.
These services can be proposed to run underground so as to free the space for road passage. The walk ways can be pushed to the extreme ends.
Simple solutions can sometimes be the solutions to major problems.
Such simple solutions should be initiated by the VISION 2030 team so as to achieve the planned growth within Kenya.
Additional info. May 2016.
Currently, in 2016, 5 years later after posting this in 2011, the road between Ngong town and Karen is being widened using hardcore and murram, just the way i had earlier suggested. This is the way to go until the Government can afford tarmac road expansion. I hope that my idea inspired whoever came up with the murram road expansion for the Ngong Karen road.
Architect Francis Gichuhi Kamau