Kenyan road users stranded for 48 hours in gridlocked traffic near Mombasa

Gridlocked traffic on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway near Taru
Gridlocked traffic on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway near Taru

Goods being transported from Mombasa have been disrupted for a second straight day due to a washed-out road linking the Indian Ocean port to the capital, Nairobi.

Police and truckers stuck on the road have reported that the queues are now almost 50km long, with many trucks, busses and cars stranded far from towns and villages meaning drivers and passengers are unable to purchase essentials such water and food.

Mombasa handles imports such as fuel and other vital goods for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Traffic began queuing at about 10 a.m. on Wednesday when heavy rains swept away a temporary road about 50km from Mombasa which was being used as a diversion while the main Nairobi-Mombasa highway near Taru was repaired.

Faced with the prospect of protests staged by motorists, police urged patience, but acting chief executive of the Kenya Transporters Association, Wellington Kiverenge, said the delays were increasing losses for trucking companies.

“We have more than 1,500 trucks stuck in the traffic since yesterday. Nothing much has changed and the problem is escalating. The Kenya Highways Authority must do something quickly because it is already a crisis,” he said.

Mombasa port official Hajj Masemo revealed that cargo operations were still normal, but continuing delays into the weekend would affect truck turn-around time and result in a cargo backlog.

He shared it with the other hungry travellers.