Waiyaki Way expansion cause deforestation

Nature and tree lovers have criticized the massive felling of trees on Waiyaki Way to allow for expansion of the road.

On Saturday night, hundreds of youths hired by the China Wu Yi Company, which won the Sh16.4 billion tender to expand the Waiyaki Way-Rironi road to a six-lane highway, cut down the trees.

The trees were planted as part of the City Beautification Programme between 2008-10. The programme was spearheaded by the now-defunct Nairobi City Council Town Clerk John Gakuo and then Environment minister John Michuki.

Gakuo’s initiative included making the city green to reclaim its lost glory as “the Green City in the Sun”.

Mountain View resident Tom Makina said he was saddened by the felling of the trees. “I was one of the people employed as a casual labourer to plant trees along this highway. It’s so sad to see the trees being cut. We need the road, but not all the trees should have been cut. Some of them were far from the road,” he said.

Makina said with the trees cut, there is nothing left to mark his contribution to the beautification drive.

The felling exercise caused a traffic snarl-up on Waiyaki Way, which stretched to Kinoo yesterday morning.

County Environment executive Peter Kimori was unavailable for comment.

Last week, Kenha director general Peter Mundia told the Star the road expansion project will be funded by the World Bank and the government under the National Urban Transport Improvement Project.

“The section of the road from James Gichuru Road to the Mai Mahiu junction will be expanded. It is expected to take 36 months. A resettlement action will be carried out in the next two weeks before construction begins,” he said.

The road expansion is expected to ease traffic flow in and out of the city. It is one of the three major projects earmarked to decongest the Northern Corridor.

The other projects which will be implemented are reconstruction of the JKIA to Likoni Road junction and the Likoni Road junction to the James Gichuru Road junction. Major works on the project will include construction of 44km of service roads and non-motorised transport lanes on either side of the highway.

“A new storm drainage system will also be built to drain excess rain and groundwater from the road and sidewalks,” Mundia said. He said the highway will have 13 bridges at interchange locations, 21 pedestrian overpasses and five underpasses.