The Mesh of Road Codes in Nairobi and their PotHole Distribution

Happy new year! New year, same old potholes — we are back to tracking potholes. One of the obstacles we experienced last year in the data collection phase was on getting the assigned codes for each road. It is through the road codes that we get to know who is repsonsible for repairing different roads in the city. Through merging different datasets we were able to obtain a code list of all roads in Nairobi.

The Major Roads

On a previous post, we had discussed the several road agencies in Kenya and their responsibilities for each road class. It is noteworthy that Nairobi has two class A road (international roads) — the first is A104 which links the city of Mombasa to Uganda. When road A104 passes through Nairobi, it acquires three names, first one Mombasa Road, then Uhuru Highway and finally Waiyaki Way. So, technically these three roads are one road and they are all maintained by Kenya National Highway Authority (KENHA).

The other class A road is A2 that connects Nairobi to Ethiopia. The first 50 km of the road is known as Thika Road and goes from Nairobi CBD to Thika town. Nairobi has only one class B road, that’s B10, the road between Nyayo roundabout and JKIA. Road class B link nationally important centres (e.g. Provincial headquarters). Examples are B1 that links Kericho to Kisumu, and B3 that links Mai-Mahiu and Sotik.

Given international airports such as JKIA act as nationally important centres, the road connecting them gets higher classification. If you noticed from the previous paragraph, part of this road is already classified as A104. This is common phenomenon all over the country. At certain sections, a road may have two codes and is usually indicated in green by road signs with both codes. That doesn’t change the responsible party since KENHA is in charge of road classes A,B and C.

Road class C are numerous in Nairobi,these roads link district centres. Examples include C98 linking Nairobi and Kangundo and is known as Kangundo Road, C59 connecting Thika Road and JKIA and is known as Outering Road. Much like road class A, the class roads in Nairobi have disconnect between the common name and road code. Example is Langata Road that starts from Nyayo roundabout to Karen shopping centre. It is actually two roads that make up Langata Road — C58 that begins from Nyayo Stadium to Bomas of Kenya then to Magadi town, and C63 from Bomas of Kenya through Karen to Kikiyu.

The Quagmire

Most of the major roads have a decent amount of documentation therefore relative easy to obtain the codes. Past these classes, there’s a mix of which body is responsible for the roads. In Nairobi class class D and E roads should be under the Kenya Urban Roads Authority, after the formation of the counties these roads were placed under the county goverment. Examples of these roads are D408 (Westlands — Nyari Estate), D407 (Ruaka — Muchatha), D400(Kasarani — Mwiki).

In Nairobi there is a separete class of roads known as Nairobi City County roads . These include NCC15 (Kimathi road/street), NCC28 (Ngara Road), NCC29 (Luthuli Avenue), NCC36 (2nd Street Eastleigh), NCC7 (Parliament Road), Y1152 (River Road), V3005 (Dennis Pritt), V3010 (James Gichuru), V3013 (King’ara Road), V3025 (Ring Road Kilimani), Y3002 (2nd Parklands Avenue)amonst others.

After the Nairobi County Roads, we did find another class of roads known as constituency roads and they are maintained by the Constitiuency Development Fund (CDF). These include; UUP03 (Githurai Estate Road), UUR9 (Mpaka Road), UUR2 (joseph kange’the Road), UUR5 (South Csports club access).

Who’s Slacking?

Given we are now able to assign road names to codes, we decided to map potholes to who is most responsible for potholes in Nairobi. The chart below tells it.

The Nairobi City County is reponsible for 86 percent of potholes in Nairobi — you can take this to your MCA before you re-elect him/her in August.

You can access the road codes of the link below. Feel free to extend the list, we may have missed some roads.


Got a pothole to report? Or a road in desperate need of repair in Nairobi? Follow @whatisaroad & highlight yours using hashtag #WhatIsARoad . Remember to include a photo of the pothole with the road and closest landmark.

View the map of potholes in Nairobi here: https://whatisaroad.crowdmap.com/

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