Impact of Failure in the Planning Phase of Mega Infrastructure Projects

A Case Study of Road Safety on Thika Superhighway

  • Gladys N. Maina University of Nairobi
Keywords: Accident, Mega infrastructure projects, Planning phase, Road safety, Work zone


This paper reports the findings of a study that aimed to investigate the impact of failure in the planning phase of a mega construction project as exemplified by road safety challenges on the Thika Superhighway, Kenya. Accordingly, the study sought to identify whether the planned road safety measures were adequately implemented. The study therefore covered what the planning phase within the construction project lifecycle entails, the implementation of a road work zone including the various aspects of road safety that should be considered during the planning phase of a mega infrastructure project i.e., the best practice road safety measures. The study relied on purposive sampling of the key informants/opinion leaders i.e., the Employer (Kenya National Highways Authority), Traffic Police, Design Engineers (APEC Consulting Engineers Limited), the umbrella body of resident associations in Kenya (KARA) and the Contractors (China Wu Yi / Sino Hydro / Shengli) who had been directly involved in the project. The data was collected via interviews, questionnaires and focus group discussions (FGDs) for residents living along the highway. The findings indicated that failure in the planning phase had a direct impact on the implementation phase as exemplified by road safety challenges e.g., multiple fatalities and injuries during the highway construction. This was exacerbated by failure to involve all the stakeholders during the planning phase of the project and also failure by planners to fully consider road safety during the planning phase of the project as per the best practice. The study recommends the adoption of a context-sensitive approach to roadbuilding. The government should also emphasize the need for public participation and stakeholder engagement during the planning phase of mega road infrastructure projects in line with the Constitution of Kenya (2010). The road safety measures should also be planned and fully implemented as per the best practice.