Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) has commenced the construction of new tarmac roads in Kibera in a bid to improve accessibility in the informal settlement.
The project, which will enable 28 kilometers of roads constructed in the area, considered as Africa’s largest urban slum, is part of Sh5.8 billion plan aimed at upgrading 444 kilometres of access roads across informal settlements in Nairobi County.
NMS Director General Major General Mohamed Badi said that NMS intends to complete the 444 kilometres earmarked for informal settlements in the capital within a year.
He said that for Kibera, the new roads will connect the informal settlement to Lang’ata, Southern Bypass, and neighbouring roads.
“This project in Kibera will also involve three other major developments including installation of water pipes, water sewers lines and electricity. We will kick it off here in Sarang’ombe before going to the other wards,” said Badi during the launch.
“One year from now, all access roads within the informal settlements will be tarmacked and I call upon residents to cooperate with the constructors,” he added.
The NMS boss urged owners of houses and structures built on land marked for the construction of the access roads to voluntarily demolish them before his administration is forced to intervene.
“I am calling upon the owners of the houses to demolish their structures themselves because no one will be spared. No bias will be applied whether the house is built using stones, mud or iron sheets. I therefore plead with the owners to cooperate and move with speed and demolish the houses,” he said.
NMS Director of Transport and Public Works Engineer Michael Ochieng said NMS will source for local labour for the road project with people living in the informal settlement the prime beneficiaries.
“We are calling upon the youths to take part in this project which will benefit generations to come,” said Ochieng.
Sarang’ombe MCA Lawrence Odhiambo said the road project will be beneficial to area residents especially in times of disaster pointing out that the slum still has remote areas that lack access roads and when an emergency arises it becomes difficult for fire engines or ambulances to access the area.
Last year September, Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) Director-General Silas Kinoti said the 444km road project is aimed at improving accessibility in the informal settlements in Nairobi opening them up.
Areas that were to benefit include Kawangware, Riruta, parts of Dagoretti North, Mathare, Kangemi, Mukuru, Kibera, parts of Githurai 44 and 45, Mwiki and Zimmermann, among others with access roads in the areas upgraded to bitumen standards.
He decried that most of the areas had for a long time suffered from poor road network making accessibility of critical services and other essentials in cases of emergencies and disasters a challenge.
Heightened development has been witnessed in Kibera ever since the area was declared a special planning area by NMS in May last year to only allow for harmonised development in the area.
Last month, the national government intensified efforts to improve sanitation levels in the area with the aim of bringing to an end the ‘flying toilets’ menace in the sprawling slum.
The move saw the government commence Sh500 million projects geared towards enhancing sanitation and water provision in the informal settlement including setting up of water stations, ablution blocks, an extension of sewer lines, and laying of water supply lines in various parts of the informal settlement.