IMPACTS OF UPGRADING NAIROBI-THIKA HIGHWAY ON COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES: CASE OF MURANG’A ROAD

ABSTRACT
Infrastructural developments have sometimes led to spatial interference in the organization,
accessibility and operation of activities along transport corridors. This has necessitated studies to
find out how such developments affect land uses along corridors. This study was done in the
aftermath of Kenya’s concerted efforts to steer road infrastructure development as a stimulant to
the economy. The study focuses on examining the impact of the upgraded Nairobi-Thika highway
on commercial activities along Muranga road.
The methodology of the study involved review of secondary literature on infrastructure
development and impacts on other land uses and specifically on the upgrading of the Nairobi-
Thika road. Simple-random sampling was used to select a study sample of 30 businesses
operators along the study corridor. Purposive sampling was used to select the City Council of
Nairobi and the Kenya National Highways Authority as the key informants for the study.
Information from the institutions was collected through use of interview schedules. Primary data
was collected through an observation checklist, photography, interview schedules and
questionnaires. The data collected was analyzed by SPSS and spatial analysis done by GIS. The
data was presented in tables, graphs, photos, figures and maps.
The study expected to outline the factors that make Muranga road a commercial hub for business
operators, how the expansion of the road affected access and operation of commercial activities,
the adaptive responses business apply to sustain their operations and the different alternative
ways available to redress challenges business face in the corridor.
The study revealed that Murang’a road is a hub for different commercial activities that include
formal premise structured business, makeshift structured business and hawkers. The corridor is
mainly preferred by the low and middle-income class as a business zone due to ease of space
availability, less stringent regulations by the City Council of Nairobi on setting up business and
many customers that traverse the road from the CBD to Ngara and Pangani. It was also
established that businesses have been affected differently following the upgrading of the road.
The impacts range from relocation inconveniences, accessibility difficulties, safety concerns and
inadequacy of space for operation.
Nevertheless, businesses have employed various measures to alleviate the impacts, such as
changing of signage, advertising and relocating to new business sites. They however recommend
that there is a dire need to review the case of commercial activities operation in the corridor to
enhance their effective operation. Therefore, there is need to intervene and plan for commercial
activities in Murang’a road.

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