Thou­sands of trees cut to al­low for ex­pan­sion of Waiyaki Way

The trees were planted as part of the City Beau­ti­fi­ca­tion Pro­gramme be­tween 200810. The pro­gramme was led by the then Nairobi City Coun­cil town clerk John Gakuo

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - CHRISPINUS WEKESA @Chrispi­nusW

Na­ture and tree lovers have crit­i­cised 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 WayRironi 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.

‘WE NEED THE ROAD, BUT NOT ALL THE TREES SHOULD HAVE BEEN CUT’

/CHRISPINUS WEKESA

Tree cut­ters at work on Waiyaki Way yes­ter­day, mak­ing room for the ex­pan­sion of the road

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