Construction of a bypass through Dongo Kundu to link the Mombasa Island to the mainland in South Coast will start this year, a minister has said.
Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau said the government is keen on developing the road to ease over-reliance on ferry transport and open up trade routes between the two areas.
“We want to concentrate our energies on the bypass and we intend to start construction by the end of this year. The stretch between Miritini and South Coast is already financed. We will deal with the bridge later,” Eng Kamau said in Nairobi Wednesday.
Mid last year, the government secured Sh30 billion to finance the bypass, which has remained just a promise to the Coast residents for more than 20 years.
The project is financed by the Japanese government through Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), which is among Kenya’s key development partners, with a financing portfolio of more than Sh500 billion in transport and energy projects.
It is feared that the project could lead to mass displacement as more than 600 households will be moved by the Kenya National Highways Authority to pave the way for the bypass.
Kamau spoke during a joint conference of the government and the International Monetary Fund when he presented a paper on the state of transport infrastructure in the country.
The ministry, said, intends to increase the country’s total road network by 20,000km through mapping of wide roads.
“We are going to add another 20,000km because we are now mapping roads that are above 9m wide. We are also doing links to South Sudan and Ethiopia,” he said.
The total road network is estimated at 160,000km, of which 64,000km are classified roads and 14,000km are bituminised.
Under the Jubilee manifesto, the government plans to add 13,000km of road to the country’s total network in the next five years.
This will include expansion of existing roads and construction of new trunk roads to link Kenya to her neighbours such as South Sudan and Ethiopia in a bid to open up cross border trade.