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December 18, 2017

Likoni traffic set to ease as Sh82bn bridge construction starts in April

The Likoni ferry crossing channel. /ELKANA JACOB
The Likoni ferry crossing channel. /ELKANA JACOB

The construction of a Sh82 billion bridge on the Likoni channel is expected to commence in April.

The national and county government of Mombasa on Thursday began the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment of the proposed Mombasa Gate Bridge Project.

The 1.4 kilometre bridge will Mombasa island and the Mombasa South mainland, which will ease traffic at the ferry crossing.

On average, some 300,000 people and 6,000 vehicles cross the channel daily.

The project’s managing consultant Michael Mwangi said additional ferries at the Likoni channel is not the solution to the congestion experienced there.

In fact, Mwangi said, additional ferries only serve to increase the risk of accidents at the channel.

Already, there are six ferries operating across the Likoni (five) and Mtongwe (one) channels.

Read: Ferrying of Motorists at Likoni, Mtongwe suspended after overflow of water

The government plans to add another ferry but an ongoing court case over the matter has temporarily halted this.

On Thursday, Mwangi told stakeholders in Mombasa the project is jointly funded by the Kenyan and Japanese governments, through JICA.

According to preliminary results of the ingoing feasibility study, the proposed bridge will start at the King’orani prison (Jela Baridi) along Lumumba Road, then pass over the Railway station, over Moi Avenue, over Archbishop Macarius Road, Liwatoni, until the Likoni channel.

On the mainland side, the bridge will pass over Jamvi la Wageni area, from which it will start to dip after 500 metres, to across the Mtongwe road and to Ziwani area where it will join the Mombasa Southern Bypass.

 “Construction of the bridge at the Likoni channel is complicated because big ships pass through the channel. This means the bridge must be heightened. This means the bridge must start from very far,” said Mwangi.

The highest point of the bridge, above the sea, will be 69 meters tall (almost the size of a 21-storey building).

“The bridge will be used by all vehicles except tuktuks and bicycles,” said Mwangi.

“This is because the bridge will be so high that there will be a lot of wind, which might cause accidents,” he explained.

Mwangi said the bridge complex will be around 3.5 kilometres.

“But including all the support and feeder roads, the total distance of the road network to be constructed alongside the bridge will be like 10km,” said Mwangi.

Construction of the bridge will not affect the ferry services at Likoni and Mtongwe crossing channels.

Although it is too early to get the exact estimate of the cost, Mwangi said roughly at least Sh82 billion will be needed for the project.

This amount includes compensation money for all who will be affected by the project.

Mombasa county lands executive Edward Nyale said the relocation process of those who will be affected will be done smoothly and in a well thought out manner.

“Already, there is an interdepartmental committee that has been formed to handle that matter,” said Nyale.

He said a lot of support infrastructure will be needed to compliment the bridge.

He said the construction of the bridge is also part of the Mombasa county master plan.

Transport department chief officer Albert Keno, who is an engineer, said all those who will be affected by the construction of the bridge will be adequately compensated.

“It is too early to estimate the number of people who will be affected. We will however know this after March 2018,” said Keno.

The actual construction of the bridge is expected to begin in April 2018 and will take about 4 years to complete.

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