State sitting on grand proposals over ferry problems - Daily Nation

State sitting on grand proposals over ferry problems

Sunday March 7 2010

By NATION Reporter

Solutions to the problems bedevilling ferry users at the Mtongwe and Likoni channels have been proposed in various studies conducted by the government over the years.

They include reports presented to the Mtongwe Ferry Disaster Commission of Inquiry into the 1994 tragedy that claimed more than 250 lives after a vessel capsized.

The studies propose that a bridge, a tunnel or a by-pass would provide an ideal solution to the congestion problem at the Kilindini Channel.

Recent incidents involving the stalling of ferries have raised questions as to why the government is not interested in implementing these recommendations.

For many years, the government has toyed with the idea of either building a bridge across the Likoni crossing or a by-pass at Port Reitz creek.

The ferry disaster commission was told that plans for the building of a bridge across the Kilindini Channel had been in the pipeline for decades, but had always been put off because of a lack of funds.

According to the report that was presented to the commission, the first serious study in an attempt to resolve the serious communication bottleneck across the 500-metre channel was initiated in 1983 through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

In their report released in 1984, Jica examined the options of having either a bridge or a tunnel across the Kilindini Channel. According to that report, the bridge would have been two kilometres long with an approached road system measuring 5.3 kilometres long on both sides.

The other alternative is a by-pass at Port Reitz creek at what is now popularly known as Dongo-Kundu.

Feasibility studies for the by-pass are said to have already been undertaken and design work for the project is currently ongoing.

The Dongo-Kundu by-pass, with a bridge at Miritini, is contained in the Kenya Ports Authority 2004 master plan. The project is one of those identified by the government to achieve Vision 2030.

Experts say that either a bridge at the Likoni crossing, a by-pass at Dongo-Kundu or both will solve the agony of crossing the Kilindini Channel using ferries.