Screenshot via BBC

Travelers have been stranded without water or food, miles from any shops.

On a highway between the Kenyan city of Mombasa and the capital Nairobi, more than 1,500 trucks have been stuck since Tuesday night in a traffic jam stretching 30 miles. Cars trying to escape the traffic by turning into the nearby grasslands have ended up stuck in the mud.

The gridlock snakes around seemingly endless fields of grass in the countryside, leaving some truck drivers and bus passengers stranded in the cold without water or food, and miles from any shops, BBC reports. “It’s terrible. Children are yelling in my bus due to hunger,” one bus driver told local news outlet Daily Nation.

Local reports say the jam is a result of heavy rains and roadway repairs near the area of Taru, which have been going on for at least six months. The highway is a heavily used road for transporting food and cargo, linking Mombasa to various countries throughout East and Central Africa. On a good day, it already takes truck drivers more than 24 hours make the 310-mile trip between Mombasa and Nairobi.

The ongoing road diversions have left travelers angry, with many saying that it has inconvenienced commuters and disrupted business:

For Kenyans, these conditions are nothing new. Poor road maintenance mixed with severe weather have often left motorists stranded in gridlock. In 2014, Boomberg reported that Nairobi’s transport system has struggled to keep up with the city’s development. The city has the region’s second-fastest growing economy but its roads are the fourth-most congested, according to a “Commuter Pain” survey conducted by IBM in 2011.

And according to Bloomberg, traffic jams costs the city roughly $578,000 a day in lost productivity.

Traffic stands still on both sides the streets of Kenya's capital Nairobi back in April. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Maps

    Your Maps of Life Under Lockdown

    Stressful commutes, unexpected routines, and emergent wildlife appear in your homemade maps of life during the coronavirus pandemic.

  2. photo: an open-plan office
    Life

    Even the Pandemic Can’t Kill the Open-Plan Office

    Even before coronavirus, many workers hated the open-plan office. Now that shared work spaces are a public health risk, employers are rethinking office design.

  3. photo: The Pan-Am Worldport at JFK International Airport, built in 1960,
    Design

    Why Airports Die

    Expensive to build, hard to adapt to other uses, and now facing massive pandemic-related challenges, airport terminals often live short, difficult lives.

  4. Life

    When the Cruise Ships Stop Coming

    As coronavirus puts the cruise industry on hold, some popular ports are rethinking their relationship with the tourists and economic benefits the big ships bring.

  5. photo: Social-distancing stickers help elevator passengers at an IKEA store in Berlin.
    Transportation

    Elevators Changed Cities. Will Coronavirus Change Elevators?

    Fear of crowds in small spaces in the pandemic is spurring new norms and technological changes for the people-moving machines that make skyscrapers possible.

×