The History Of ‘Killer’ Tharaka Nithi Bridge

Tragedy befell Tharaka Nithi County at 6.45 PM on Sunday after a Modern Coast from Maua that was heading to Mombasa veered off the road and rolled down the Nithi Bridge.

As of Monday morning, police confirmed that at least 33 people died from the crash while 10 others were admitted in various hospitals within the area.

Witnesses indicated that the driver of the ill-fated was speeding before the bus lost control and plunged 40 meters into the Nithi river

The Sunday incident is not first to happen at the Nithi Bridge, known to be a major black spot on the Meru-Nairobi highway for a long time.

In August 2000, a similar tragedy befell Tharaka Nithi after 45 people were killed and at least 27 more injured after a passenger bus crashed into the river.

Similarly, the Tawfiq bus was travelling from Maua to Mombasa. The year 2000 tragedy brought to 158 the number of people who have perished at the Nithi Bridge in a period of five years.

In 1998, 56 people on board a Stage Coach bus were killed. The same year, passengers on board an Akamba bus cheated death after a landslide created a huge gully along the bridge.

In a 2018 interview, Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki identified the bridge as the most dangerous one, saying that there was a need to avoid the slope that has been established as the major cause of road accidents.

Njuki suggested the erection of straight pillars from Mitheru or redirecting the road to pass in between the slopes in the surrounding.

“It means we have to buy land here, farmers and owners have to be compensated,” he said.

Human error, recklessness of drivers and the sloppy terrain of the area have largely been blamed for numerous accidents that have been witnessed at the Nithi Bridge. 

Other than passenger vehicles, private cars and also those ferrying Miraa have fallen into the 40-metre gorge, leading to deaths. 

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