Archive for the ‘Construction’ Category

Outer BizOutering Road expansion project which is now 25% complete is slowly shaping up into a new look and will definitely be one of the iconic features  of Nairobi given the huge structures that are being erected by the Chinese contractors. According to Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA -), new funding has to be negotiated between Kenyan government and African Development Bank (AfDB-) to finance the new design near Taj Mall area.  Road construction cutting across busy and densely populated neighborhoods will always cause some level of disruption and its value cannot be quantified financially but social impacts can be gradually experienced and Outering Road expansion project will not be an exception.

Some years back when Thika Highway was being upgraded, section between Guru Nanak and Fig Tree along Murang’a was dotted with several petrol stations, car selling yards and was turning into being the alternative business hub of some kind. But once the road was complete, all the vibrancy was gone and Murang’a Road turned into being quite neighborhood with a busy highway unfriendly to public transport users while pedestrians have to walk long distance to use a bridge.

Looking at Outering Road expansion, many businesses have been displaced or forced to relocate to pave way the road construction. This is already causing strain on the limited business spaces within the affected communities and which has affected renting rates. A walk inside Kariobangi Market and along Kagundo Road near Umoja reveals an already over crowded place that cannot accommodate new traders while there are no enough social amenities. The remaining option has been to turn some of the residential houses into business premises. The previously easy life of doing business along Outering Road and crossing the road is all gone.

From the look of things, road construction should also come along with investing in the affected neighborhoods (Mathare North, Baba Dogo, Mathare, Kariobangi North/South, Buru Buru, Umoja, Donholm, Mukuru, Tena, Pipeline estates.) Construction and expansion of already existing markers in areas such as Kariobangi South, Umoja, Donholm and Pipeline can help mitigate socio-economic stress related with road construction effects. The motorist users will definitely appreciate the new developments given the nightmare of traffic jam associated with the current status of the road.

Investing in road infrastructure without considering social implication of the development to the neighboring communities can be catastrophic for the future generation. When Waiyaki Way was upgraded some years back with funding from the European Union, it was hailed by all. Unfortunately some years later communities were cut off from social networks, social amenities such markets and hospitals, left with uncovered quarries filled with rain water, a nice road without footbridges and regular pedestrian deaths.

Nairobi County government needs to be supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to invest prudently in social projects such as markets and business parks to spur economic within the affected neighborhoods since the county government is busy decentralizing some of its services. All the Nairobi County managed markets are in poor state and requires expansion to accommodate more traders.

Emission from motor vehicles has been known to be the biggest contributor of air pollution. Increased tree covered in the affected communities can help reduce the effect of air pollution.

Three lessons from Thika Superhighway experience are; road construction is not a preserve of the Ministry of Roads and associated agencies alone but well co-ordinate partnerships with all parties involved. Public awareness on various aspect of road needs to star early or concurrently with the ongoing road construction so that by the time road is being completed, community members are conversant with newly introduced road features. This can help save lives and motivate road users to utilize new road features such as footbridges, walk paths and bicycle lanes. Finally loans negotiated for road project should not focus alone of road features but include some funding for social investment and policy changes in conjunction with county governments. There is no need of constructing bicycle tracks while the government has not enacted positive laws/rules to motivate ownership and use of bicycles.

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Road Signs

The ongoing road construction activities along Outering Road has started to attract people especially regular users of the road both motorists and pedestrians alike.
On different occasion I have witnessed passengers in public vehicle taking a few snap shots with their mobile phones.
  Mega structures are coming up which has attracted attention of road users. Pedestrians and curios residents are seen on site enjoying to see how construction is taking place oblivious of the dangers they are exposed to. On the other hand there are no road signs to warn the curious onlookers and sign available are not visible as a warning signs.
Construction sites are protected areas for those without safety protective gears. Safety for both workers and other road users is important.
Road Construction Signs

FROM the back of St Mary’s Mission Hospital, two hours north of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, convalescent patients can watch flamingos frolic on Lake Elementaita. From the front, the view is less idyllic. Overloaded lorries race along the A104, a busy part of the Northern Corridor, east Africa’s main trade route. Each month, says Robert Limo, a researcher at the hospital, at least two patients are readmitted, having been run over just minutes after being discharged while waiting for a bus.

This stretch of road was upgraded in 2008 with funding from the European Union. But almost all the $91m went on asphalt and almost none on safety, so the road that was supposed to make everyone richer has brought grief, too. Cars and lorries now speed by at 130kph (80mph). The road has no provision for overtaking or protection for pedestrians and casualties inundate local hospitals, with two or three a week coming to St Mary’s from a 5km stretch alone. The picture is repeated across Kenya as the country’s roads are upgraded with little thought for safety. Road casualties now account for half of admissions on its surgical wards.

Every 30 seconds someone, somewhere, dies in a road crash, and ten are seriously injured. The toll is rising: the World Health Organisation (WHO) expects the number of deaths globally to reach nearly 2m a year by 2030, up from 1.3m now. But the pain will fall far from equally. Rich countries are making roads safer and cutting casualties to rates not seen for decades, despite higher car use. Poor and middle-income ones will see crashes match HIV/AIDS as a cause of death by 2030 (see chart). In the very poorest, the WHO expects deaths almost to triple.

Where incomes are low, for example in Bangladesh and Kenya, pedestrians top the body count. As they rise, so does the use of motorbikes—often for the precarious transport of entire families. In Thailand motorcyclists are more than two-thirds of fatalities. A bit richer still, and four wheels dominate. In Argentina, Russia and Turkey the main victims are inside cars, buses and lorries.

Higher vehicle standards are a big reason for falling death rates in the rich world. But many other safety measures are simple and cheap. Roads used by pedestrians got pavements and crossings. Fast traffic was separated from cyclists and pedestrians. Governments advertised the need for seat belts and motorcycle helmets, and enforced speeding and drunk-driving laws.

Where safety has been put first, the results have been remarkable. Though a tragic run of crashes has killed three pedestrians and a cyclist in New York in recent days, speed bumps, pedestrian countdown lights and slow zones around schools mean that the city now has fewer deaths each year than when it started counting in 1910. Sweden has halved road deaths since 2000, and cut them by four-fifths since 1970.

But in the developing world, laws and safety measures are failing to keep up with population growth, urbanisation and rising car use. Development banks and donors often make matters worse, says Kavi Bhalla of the Johns Hopkins Centre for Global Health, by paying for new roads that are fast but not safe.

Over one in three road-accident victims are under 30: crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 29-year-olds worldwide. Most of the casualties are men and boys, who use roads more, and take more risks. That means that many were breadwinners, or could have expected soon to be.

So crashes take a huge financial toll as well as an emotional one. A dead or maimed 17-year-old costs much more in lost earnings than an 80-year-old. A victim’s family is often plunged into poverty for two or even three generations, says Avi Silverman of the FIA Foundation, a London-based road-safety charity. The International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), an engineer-led road-safety charity, calculates that road deaths and injuries cost 2% of GDP for high-income countries and 5% of GDP for middle- and low-income countries, including medical bills, care, lost output and vehicle damage—$1.9 trillion a year globally.

Each year $500 billion is spent on new roads. By linking isolated communities to schools, hospitals, jobs and markets, they boost development. But just 1-3% of the construction budget is often enough to make a road much safer, says Rob McInerney of iRAP. And safer roads have much higher returns, says Veronica Raffo of the World Bank.

iRAP has helped to build fences to separate pedestrians from traffic in Bangladesh, at a cost of just $135 to avert a death or serious injury; and installed rumble strips on hard shoulders in Mexico to alert drivers when they are veering from their lane ($920). Telling people about safety laws—and then making those laws stick—can be surprisingly affordable and effective, too. The share of people wearing seat belts in Ivanovo, Russia, rose from 48% in 2011 to 74% in 2012, after a police crackdown and social-media campaign partly paid for by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the foundation of Michael Bloomberg, New York’s former mayor and one of the few big aid donors to spend heavily on road safety. Dan Chisholm of the WHO calculates that enforcing speed limits and drunk-driving laws in South-East Asia would cost just 18 cents per person per year.

In the Nesco school in Kibera, Kenya’s largest slum, the children recently received government-funded vaccinations for measles and polio. And aid donors have pledged $600m to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in the country in the next few years, and $4 billion globally. But with multi-lane highways to navigate on the way to school, and a lack of safe crossings, a quarter of the pupils have been in a road crash and a third have seen a close relative injured or killed. A little more spent on road safety would help more children in Kibera, and across the developing world, make it safely into adulthood. Copied from: (http://www.economist.com/news/international/21595031-rich-countries-have-cut-deaths-and-injuries-caused-crashes-toll-growing)

Railway Crossing at Buru Buru

One major component of highway upgrading involves greening the road due to emission and other environmental factors related to the new development. During road construction, the landscape changes and in some cases trees have to be uprooted to give way. During or after the new road is completed efforts are put to ensure that along the highway we have some vegetation. The focus is usually done while no major efforts are invested in greening communities near the road.

Very little efforts are employed to ensure that neighbouring communities are also greened. Outering Rd neighbour communities with less vegetation like, Kariobangi, Umoja, Mathare and Mathare North. The contractor and government agencies concerned should also invest in tree planting in this neighbourhood given that they carry high population and they will be affected by the high numbers of cars that are expected to use the road.
Space is an issue in these place but more trees could be planted in schools, raparian lands and religious institution to help improve air quality in these densely populated communities.

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Obstacles to Implementing Green Highways (http://www.astm.org/SNEWS/SO_2008/bryce_so08.html)

Before any new technology can be introduced in society, it must be verified by a consistent history and accepted as safe for use. Most techniques that will lead to the creation and implementation of a green highway system are very young. Standards and research will aid in the development of a track record for technologies, but implementation of technology requires performance assurance.

SAM_0339The experience of designing, constructing, using and maintain Thika Road Super Highway should be treated like a manual for implementing future such projects in Kenya. From the look of things, this road is one of a kind in Kenya not only in terms of cost but importance and number of cars using it per day.
However the number of accidents occurring almost on a daily basis can be quite alarming. Pedestrians are seen in most cases ignoring foot bridges and attempting to cross at undesignated points while in some sections, traders have invaded walking and cycling lane. Very few people are seen cycling along the road.
Outering Road is soon to be upgraded with almost near facilities like footbridges, sidewalk and cycling lanes. This is going to be totally new experience for

If there is one area that questions are emerging about the road is the design and number of accidents being reported on a daily basis? Outering Road designers can build on the experience of Thika Road-Super Highway to construct a road which will motivate cyclists, safe for pedestrians to walk, have fewer accidents given that Outering Road is cutting through densely populated communities.

Communities living on both sides of Outering Road interact with each other more frequently for work, to access banking facilities, supermarkets, markets; religious and learning institutions on daily basis and people are seen crossing the road more frequently. High speeding driving in newly constructed roads in Kenya is very common. Driving from Pangani to Thika town, one will see high speed driving, visible accidents signs where we have turn and road signs knocked down.

Lessons from Thika Road Super Highway should help stakeholders to think ways of reducing speed and erecting foot bridges at appropriate points. Pedestrians on both sides of Outering Roads are used to crossing narrow road for now hence need for proper public awareness while the road is under construction and after completion on the importance of using food bridges.

DSCF5194
There has been so many ongoing projects along roadside like laying of cables along Juja Rd. This is a trend that is most likely to continue with advancement in technology.
Below is a check list from http://www.kenha.co.ke/index.php?option=com_jdownloads&Itemid=148&view=viewdownload&catid=15&cid=20

Checklist/Requirements for Roadside Developments
1. Application to construct or improve access roads to Class A, B, or C roads
• Application letter detailing the proposed developments and justification.
• A survey of the property from the Survey of Kenya
• Detailed Engineering Design Drawings with general layout, cross-sections and all other relevant details to scale (2 copies).
• A geo-referenced map (UTM map projection, Arc 1960 Datum) giving location and affected plot(s) in relation to the road (2 printouts and soft copy (CAD)).
• Complete application copied to Regional Manager of respective region for comments/consent following a site visit. Alternatively a site visit report from an officer from HQ.

2. Application to lay communication cables along and/or across class A, B or C roads
• Application letter detailing the proposed developments and justification.
• Detailed Engineering Design LayoutDrawings overlain on a properly geo-referenced map (UTM map projection, Arc 1960 Datum)showing cadastral data, longitudinal profile, cross-sections of typical trenches and road crossings (micro-tunneling), junctions and manholes/handholes with coordinates and all other relevant details to scale.Coordinates (X, Y) list for all the utility line bends and manholes/handholes should also be included in the map. Layout drawings should be provided for a scale of 1:2500 for the general layout and 1:500 for the details (crossings) and provided in 2 printed copies and in soft (CAD).
• Where service ducts are provided, the applicant shall not be allowed to lay the cable at any other point.
• Copied to Regional Manager of respective region for comments/consent following a site visit. Alternatively a site visit report from an officer from HQ.

3. Application to lay water pipelines along and/or across class A, B or C roads
• Application letter detailing the proposed developments and justification.
• Detailed Engineering Design Drawings overlain on properly geo-referenced maps (UTM map projection, Arc 1960 Datum)showing pipeline network and pipeline size(s), layout and profiles in relation to road, cross-sections of typical trenches and road crossings(reinstatement details where applicable), details of river crossings, road over rail/river bridge crossings & anchorages and all other relevant details to scale. Coordinates (X, Y) list for all the utility line bends and manholes should also be included in the map. Layout drawings should be provided for a scale of 1:2500 for the general layout and 1:500 for the details (2 printed copied & soft copy(CAD)).
• Where appropriate service ducts are provided, the applicant shall not be allowed to lay the pipe at any other point.
• Copied to Regional Manager of respective region for comments/consent following a site visit. Alternatively a site visit report from an officer from HQ.

4. Application to lay sewer lines along and/or across class A, B or C roads
• Application letter detailing the proposed developments and justification.
• Detailed Engineering Design Drawings overlain on properly geo-referenced maps (UTM map projection, Arc 1960 Datum) showing pipeline network and size(s), layout and profiles in relation to road, cross-sections of typical trenches and road crossings(reinstatement details where applicable) and all other relevant details to scale. Coordinates (X, Y) list for all the utility line bends and manholes should also be included in the map. Layout drawings should be provided for a scale of 1:2500 for the general layout and 1:500 for the details (2 printed copied & soft copy (CAD)).
• Copied to Regional Manager of respective region for comments/consent following a site visit. Alternatively a site visit report from an officer from HQ.

5. Application to erect power lines along and/or across class A, B or C roads and,
• Application letter detailing the proposed developments and justification.
• For underground cables, Detailed Engineering Design Drawings overlain on properly geo-referenced maps(UTM map projection, Arc 1960 Datum) detailing cable size(s), layout in relation to road, cross-sections of typical trenches and road crossings(micro-tunneling), road over rail/river bridge crossings & anchorages and all other relevant details to scale. Coordinates (X, Y) list for all the utility line bends and manholes should also be included in the map. Layout drawings should be provided for a scale of 1:2500 for the general layout and 1:500 for the details (2 printed copied & soft copy(CAD)).
• For overhead cables, detailed Engineering Design layout drawing showing the cable route and the position of all poles overlain on a properly geo-referenced map.
• Copied to Regional Manager of respective region for comments/consent following a site visit. Alternatively a site visit report from an officer from HQ.

6. Application to install any form of advertisement on road reserves along class A, B or C roads
• Application letter detailing the proposed developments and justification.
• A properly geo-referenced location map (UTM map projection, Arc 1960 Datum) showing all salient features and the location of the advertisement structure (with coordinates) in relation to the road and other existing utilities. Maps should be provided for a scale of 1:2500 for the general layout and 1:500 for the details (2 printed copied & soft copies(CAD)).
• For the support structure, detailed Engineering Design Drawing and supporting computations certified by a Registered Structural Engineer (2 copies).
• Copied to Regional Manager of respective region for comments/consent following a site visit. Alternatively a site visit report from an officer from HQ.

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road signsGood road should be there to enhance public safety for all road users such as motorists, pedestrians and animal crossing. Road signs play a great role in promoting safety and proving cautionary measures.
Thika Super Highway has seen new features such bridges, drainage reduction in hill elevation for some section. One common feature along Thika Super Highway is people crossing in none designated sections. Near Roysambu roundabout next power station people are seen attempting to cross and ignoring the bridge which is next to the bus stage. There are no road signs warning pedestrians not to cross the road.
Our government should promote education on road signs regularly for all road users. For example the bicycle tracks along Thika Super Highway have either been invaded by motorbikes or hawkers thus discouraging bicycle users especially section next to Alsops or opposite GSU. Hawkers operating near the highway should also be involved in road sign education programme since they are always interacting with many people each day.
Outering Road has an opportunity to integrate more use of road signs from the start instead introducing them after the road is finished. I came across this handbook from United Kingdom, is a handbook which indicates all road signs likely to be found while driving in UK. (www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg…/dg_191955.pdf‎)