Unfinished Naivasha road a disgrace as town readies to host WRC Safari Rally

Friday, June 4th, 2021 00:00 |
A section of the road connecting Naivasha town and South Lake road, where the WRC Safari Rally headquarter will be staged during the June 24-27 event. Photo/PD/EDWIN OTIENO

With a few days to go to the historical return of the World Rally Championships (WRC) Safari Rally, there are fears that poor infrastructure in Naivasha could derail the global event set for June 24 to 27.

Traders and residents have lamented a section of the road near Naivasha town that has turned out to be an eye-sore and a source of daily traffic snarl-ups.

Traffic jams lasting for hours have turned out to be the norm for residents, most  of who work at KenGen, hotels around the lake, flower farms and estates that have to be accessed through the road.

In the period, senior government officers and the organisers of the rally have been caught up in the jam and the dust on the section of the road after some heavy load trucks broke down.

A section of the main road leading to Mai Mahiu was closed by the contractor to allow for the rehabilitation of the main bridge that connects Naivasha town and Mai Mahiu road in preparation for the rally that has returned to the WRC calendar for the first time in 19 years.

Kamau Njuguna, a director with the East Africa Chamber of Commerce says the WRC was a major event that would change the lives of many.

He, however, noted that small mistakes like the current diversion could mess up the event which will be flagged off in 21 days time.

“Some of the rally organizers have arrived in the country and are using this section of the road daily and it’s a total mess and a disgrace,” he said.

Lakeview MCA Simon Wanyoike termed the road as very critical as it linked Naivasha town and Hells Gate national park which will be a section of the rally.

“We only have a couple of weeks before the world rally action begins and the road which the rally drivers and visitors will be using is in the worst condition,” he said.

He noted that since the road was closed and the diversion constructed, it had led to a new crisis and daily snarl ups leading to a loss of many man-hours.

Wanyoike added that heavy trucks had now turned to feeder roads within the nearby Kihoto estate raising fears that they could also be damaged.

Speaking on phone, Naivasha sub-county commissioner Mutua Kisilu admitted that the diversion was in poor condition a few weeks to the long awaited global event.

“We have raised the issue with KENHA who have called for a meeting with the contractor and other stakeholders so that this problem can be resolved,” he said.

Meanwhile, the WRC Safari Rally Kenya Greening legacy project saw 10,500 trees planted in Kakamega and Kisumu counties in the last two days.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, her Environment counterpat Keriako Tobiko, and WRC Safari Rally Kenya CEO Phineas Kimathi lead various environmental conservation groups during the initiative.

Mohamed called on Kenyans to support the WRC Safari Rally greening legacy agenda to plant 6 million trees in 2021.

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