Design for long-awaited Likoni bridge to be ready next year

Commuters between Mombasa Island and South Coast will no longer have to rely on the fragile ferry services at Likoni. Plans are underway to construct a bridge, Mombasa Gate Bridge, which will help ease congestion at the Likoni Crossing.

The design of the bridge will be ready by the end of March 2017. According to Infrastructure Principal Secretary John Mosonik a team of experts arrived in the country on Monday to survey and work on the design. The construction will be funded by Japan.

One of the Ferries MV Nyayo shortly after leaving the Island side. This is after a 30 minutes stand off that saw commuters from the Island side break the security barriers to protest the long delays. The design of the bridge for the Likoni Crossing will be ready by the end of March 2017. (PHOTO: MWANGI MURAGURI/ STANDARD)

The first phase of the survey will be concluded by July this year while the second phase is expected to go on until February 2017.

“Financing for the actual construction work will be determined after the completion of the survey,” Mosonik said in a statement on Monday.

The bridge is expected to offer an alternative route between Mombasa Island and the South Coast, which currently relies solely on ferry services. It is estimated that an average of 300,000 people and 6,000 vehicles use the ferries everyday, resulting in huge congestion at the Likoni crossing.

“In light of these traffic volumes which are expected to grow, it was necessary for the Government to explore a more reliable and efficient alternative,” said Mosonik.

The channel between Mombasa Island and the South Coast is used to access the port of Mombasa from the open sea.

A preliminary study carried out between October 2014 and March 2015 by Katahira & Engineers in conjunction with Oriental Consultants, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation and Toyo Construction recommended the construction of a permanent bridge with spiral ramps at both ends.

Though the idea of building a bridge linking Mombasa Island to the South Coast was mooted many years ago, Mosonik said it was hampered by lack of funds.

He said the provision of a permanent crossing would facilitate movement of goods and people between the Island and South Coast and beyond to Tanzania, reduce conflict between docking ships and ferries, de-congest the island and enhance the capacity of the port of Mombasa by providing an alternative access.

The de-congestion is expected to boost tourism in the South Coast. Tourists have at times missed flights from Mombasa because of heavy traffic jams.