Transport and trade in and around the port city of Mombasa received a major boost with the opening of the first phase of the Sh11 billion Dongo Kundu bypass.
The bypass will ease transport of cargo by road from the port of Mombasa and boost business between Kenya and Tanzania.
Residents, too, will have an alternative to the congested Likoni channel once phases two and three of the project are complete.
“There is also the Dongo Kundu special economic zone whose construction will move faster because of the completion of the road. When the zone is complete our youth will secure employment,” said the president, who was flanked by his deputy William Ruto and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said the road will open up the economy of Mombasa and the entire country.
He said the 10 kilometre Miritini-Mwache-Kipevu link road or phase one of the Dongo Kungu bypass was part of the thousands of kilometres of roads his government was doing.
“There are those who said that some roads like the Mariakani- Bamba road will not be a reality but they can now see that movement has been smooth on that road and no passenger or motorist is delayed,” he said.
The major infrastructure development by Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has transformed Mombasa, easing traffic and movement of people and goods.
Mombasa is Kenya’s main international gateway by sea and therefore crucial to its economy.
The port is also used by most of the land-locked neighbouring countries for their import-export trade.
KeNHA director-general Peter Mundinia said the efforts being put in the building of roads in Mombasa were meant to create efficiency in value chain of transport and enhance the country’s creating competitiveness
Mr Kungu Ndung'u, an engineer, said the Dongo Kundu bypass will reduce both congestion on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway and access time to and from the port of Mombasa.
The road will further provide alternative access routes to the Standard Gauge Railway terminus and Mombasa International Airport.
AXLE ROAD LIMITS
Mr Mundinia urged transporters to exercise responsibility by adhering to stipulated axle road limits to protect road pavements from destruction.
Plans are on for the second and third phases of the bypass at a cost of Sh30 billion to connect the north and south coast. The phases involve an 8.9km road between Mwache junction and Mteza and another 6.9km Mteza-Kibundani road, linking the highway with the Likoni-Lunga Lunga Road.
There will be an interchange at the Likoni-Lunga Lunga highway.
Two bridges, one at Mwache (900 metres long) and another at Mteza (1.4km) will also be done.
The bypass was proposed 30 years ago to decongest Mombasa.
Part one of the Mombasa Port Area Road Development Project involved the Miritini to Kipevu Link Road with an interchange at Miritini. Works involved relocation of the railway line over a section of 1.09 Km and construction of a 62 m span bridge.
A weighbridge is to be erected along the Kipevu link road and a dual carriageway from Miritini junction through Mwache junction to Kipevu totalling 10.1 Km. The work is funded by Japanese International Co-operation.
According to KeNHA, tendering for the building of the transnational highway from Lunga Lunga on the Kenya-Tanzania border to Malindi has begun.
A dual carriageway is be built between Likoni (Mombasa) and the busy tourist hub of Dianiin Kwale, with the highway to the Lunga Lunga border from Diani also being widened.
The Nyali bridge-Kadzengo road is to be dualled before being extended to Malindi and Lamu.
Mr Mundinia said: “KeNHA is informed by the need to decongest Mombasa and facilitate ceaseless vehicular and pedestrian movement.”
He said the Lunga Lunga-Malindi will boost the economies of all the counties at the coast.