There lies a narrow bridge in Kiambu county along the Ruiru river which connects the Ruiru and Juja constituencies from the Kamakis side of the Eastern Bypass. Alluding to the bible in Matthew 7, “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
This has been the story for this particular bridge since its construction in former governor Ferdinand Waititu’s regime. According to Joseph Kiarie, a resident, the bridge was quickly built.
“The bridge is not strong enough to accommodate trucks. At first, there was a height barrier to deter trucks but they vandalized it. Concrete barriers were then put to narrow the space, making it hard to drive through,”
One look at the rocks on the barriers and it is easy to spot how heavy it damages vehicle paint job. The narrow bridge was constructed three years ago and it was meant to save drivers from taking the longer alternative route through Kimbo, Kenyatta road or Juja, to help save on time and fuel.
The narrow bridge leads to Gwa Tom, Ndarasha, Ngoma Tupu, Ndururumo and Karia on both ends in Juja constituency. The width is slightly above seven feet and allows only for small cars, PSVs, SUVs and pick-ups to cross.
Many drivers have damaged their vehicles while crossing this bridge. Here, a driver has to be very accurate and patient to drive through. Hands-on the steering wheel must be very steady.
“Though we cross effortlessly, nearly all of us matatu operators have scratched or dented our vehicles on this bridge. Crossing here is not for the timid,”
Said one of the Matatu operators plying the route.
One particular resident, Marcus Muiruri confirmed that matatu operators using the bridge have at one point scratched their vehicles. He says that he trusts his wife on the wheel, adding that she is well qualified to drive safely. However, when they get to the bridge, it is instinctive that they switch positions and he takes control.
“Not every driver can cross this bridge without messing up the vehicle. My wife shakes when she gets here though she is a good driver.”
A local businessman running a butchery nearby, Dennis Muriuki, is a witness to all these testaments. Accidents, motorists scratching their vehicles and the wary type of drivers afraid to take the risk and turn around. He says that at the beginning of the year, an accident occurred on the bridge when a school van rolled back and nearly plunged into the Ruiru river.
“A rock prevented it from dropping into the river. I broke the driver’s window to remove her and the kids. She had panicked and lost control of the van,”