Bridge to link Mombasa to South Coast in four years

Friday December 8 2017

MV Harambee Likoni

Commuters on board MV Harambee ferry on Likoni Channel last month. The Mombasa Gate Bridge, which is aimed at easing congestion, will pass over the channel, on to South Coast. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MOHAMED AHMED
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The Sh80 billion Mombasa Gate Bridge linking the island to South Coast will soon be a reality following the completion of a feasibility study.

The project consultant, Mr Michael Mwangi, who is also the environmental impact assessment team leader, said construction will take four years.

Environmental and social assessment, which has begun, will take about three years and then pave the way for actual construction works.

The Repcon Associates managing consultant also said that, during consultations in the first stage of the study, it was agreed that the bridge will start on Lumumba Road, near Jela Baridi Prison, Majengo.

It will cross the railway station and Moi Avenue along Archbishop Makarios Road, cross the Likoni Channel at Mwenza Creek and then join the Southern By-pass at Ziwani through the Mtongwe road.

DISPLACEMENT

He said “a lot of displacement is expected” at the site of an interjection near Archbishop Makarios Road.

The consultant, however, said they were yet to establish the number of people who will be displaced.

According to the design, the cable-supported bridge will be 69 metres from the highest water level and 1.4 kilometres long.

“The total length of the road will be 10.5 kilometres,” said Mr Mwangi told the first stakeholders meeting at Royal Castle Hotel, Mombasa.

“We will have four lanes and provide sidewalks for pedestrians.”

He said there were nine options on where the bridge should be built and the agreed location will allow operations on both the Likoni and Mtongwe channels to continue.

Consultations with the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) management revealed that ferries could not handle the congestion at the channel, he added.

“The management noted that even with more ferries the congestion cannot be dealt with, the channel being the only connection to South Coast,” he said.

STUCK IN TRAFFIC

For instance, on Wednesday, motorists were stuck in traffic for more than four hours at Likoni Channel after Mv Jambo ferry was withdrawn for routine maintenance, leaving only Mv Nyayo, Mv Harambee and Mv Likoni operational.

The motorists complained of delays occasioned by what they termed as poor management of the vessels. Mv Jambo was back in operation at around 9pm.

Mr Mwangi Thursday noted that the lack of a road connection between the island and the mainland poses monumental challenges to the economic development of Mombasa and Kwale counties.

“Tourism has also suffered in South Coast,” said Mr Mwangi. “Ferry service is no longer viable.”

The bridge will also boost the Mombasa Special Economic Zone project.

Mombasa Lands, Planning and Housing executive Edward Nyale assured residents to be affected by the project that they will be relocated.

“Your interests will be well taken care of,” said Mr Nyale.