Hundreds of motorists and passengers were forced to spend Saturday night in the cold following a traffic snarl-up along Nairobi-Mombasa road. The traffic jam, which was blamed on an accident and worsened by the heavy rains, lasted for more than 15 hours.
It stretched more than 20 kilometres between Athi River and Kyumbi towns. A fatal road accident was reported between a Toyota Hilux vehicle and a trailer that rendered the road impassable.
Vehicles overlapping in a bid to get to their destination faster, worsened the situation as they further clogged up the road. A traveller, David Legei, said he was heading to Voi with his family and was unsure how long it would take until the situation was resolved.
“We want to ask the authorities to help save the situation. People have slept in the cold and with no food. Some of us are travelling with children who are becoming restless and agitated because they are tired and cannot understand what is going on,” said Legei.
Machakos County Commissioner Matilda Sakwa confirmed the incident saying the snarl-up, which started at around 10pm Saturday night, was caused by a road accident near Lukenya in Athi River.
One person died on the spot. Owing to the traffic jam, matatu operators hiked fare and were charging Sh400 between Athi River and Machakos towns up from the normal Sh100.
Travellers were stranded at various bus stops in Athi River town and also caught up were parents accompanying their children to school after the mid-term break This is not the first time that passengers and motorists have been forced to spend the night on the busy highway.
Some motorists say they had ran out of fuel and are asking for help to open the gridlock, while others took to social media to vent their anger and frustrations.
In the city, most roads are flooded following heavy rainfall experienced over the weekend. Motorists are now calling for an end of the endemic snarl-ups on major highways.