The 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 see construction of 28km roads is part of a Sh5.8 billion plan aimed at upgrading 444km access roads across slums in Nairobi County.
Director-general Mohamed Badi said NMS intends to complete work on the 444km roads within a year.
He said the new 28km roads will connect Kibra 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 sewer lines and electricity. We will kick it off here in Sarang’ombe before going to other wards,” said Major-General Badi during the launch of the project.
“One year from now, all access roads within the informal settlements will be tarmacked and I call upon residents to cooperate with the contractors.”
The NMS boss told owners of houses and structures built on land meant for construction of the access roads to voluntarily demolish them.
“I am calling upon the owners of the houses to demolish their structures themselves because no one will be spared. No biasness 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 Michael Ochieng said NMS will use local labour for the road project with Kibra residents the main beneficiaries.
“We are calling upon the youths to take part in this project which will benefit generations to come,” said Mr Ochieng.
Sarang’ombe MCA Lawrence Odhiambo said the road project will be beneficial to area residents especially in times of disaster, noting that some areas of the slum lack access roads and when emergency arises it becomes difficult for fire engines or even ambulances to gain access.
Last September, Kenya Urban Roads Authority Director General Silas Kinoti said the 444km road project will open up the area for business.
Areas that will benefit include Kawangware, Riruta, parts of Dagoretti North, Mathare, Kangemi, Mukuru, Kibera, parts of Githurai 44 and 45, Mwiki and Zimmermann,with access roads in the areas upgraded to bitumen standards.
He said most of the areas have for a long time suffered from poor road network hampering access to critical services.
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.