19 hour traffic jam causes major problems for stranded passengers and freight

A 19 hour traffic jam on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway which left hundreds of travellers stranded from Tuesday evening to Wednesday afternoon, was caused by unfinished work on a road diversion in Taru and a heavy downpour which rendered the muddy stretch impassable.

The jam stretched from Maji ya Chumvi in Kwale County to Maungu in Taita-Taveta County, with motorists and travellers accusing the road contractor of taking too long to complete the stretch.

Parents travelling with children tried to make them comfortable and deal with increasing hunger and thirst issues, exasperated by shops between Mariakani and Maungu running out of food after a run on demand by desperate travellers. The hold ups meant shops couldn’t restock either.


Some vegetable transporters were even forced to cook and eat some of their merchandise.

This isn’t the first disruption to traffic flow along the route and jams have recently become a common occurrence on the 50km stretch between Mariakani and Bachuma Gate.


Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) Chief Executive Officer Wellington Kiverenge said the jam was a major blow to (the) transport business in the entire northern corridor which had not only affected Kenya but the whole eastern Africa region.

Charles Njogu, an official for the Kenya National Highways Authority said engineers were expected at the site to deal with the problem.