Construction of multi-billion shilling infrastructure projects is progressing steadily in different parts of Mombasa and Kwale counties.
The Chief Executive Officer (DG) of the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), Engineer Simon Omwono, said that all the contractors selected for the construction of roads and bridges in the coastal region were working on site to meet the expected project completion dates.
He asked the contractors to speed up the ongoing construction works of all the mega projects of roads, bridges and highways and complete them on time.
Eng Omwono said among them were the 22 billion shillings Dongo Kundu Bypass Highway, also known as the Mombasa Southern Bypass and the 4.5 billion shillings Makupa Bridge.
The senior KeNHA official hailed the ongoing projects as a “game changer”, noting that they would go a long way to solving some of the socio-economic problems faced by people in the coastal region.
He said roads and bridges are being built to provide easy connectivity, pointing out that ongoing projects will cover the infrastructure gap in the region.
“Infrastructure is the foundation of socio-economic development in any country and that is what these two ongoing megaprojects exemplify,” he said.
The CEO of KeNHA expressed his satisfaction with the quality of the work done so far and said that the government is committed to completing all the projects in the coastal region.
Eng Omwono said the bridge contractor from Makupa China Communications and Construction Co. Ltd and the Dongo Kundu bypass phase two contractor from a Japanese consortium, Fujita Corporation-Mitsubishi Corporation, were accelerating work on the site as they were looking to complete the projects.
The Dongo Kundu Bypass is an important transport corridor for traffic to and from Tanzania and traffic to and from the interior of Kenya and beyond.
The bypass will decongest the island of Mombasa and four bridges will be built across marshes and across ocean waters, as part of the highway.
He said the 8.96 km dual carriageway project includes the construction of an interchange on the Likoni-Lunga Lunga highway and the construction of two bridges, one at Mwache – spanning 660 meters , and the other at Mteza straddling 1,440 meters.
The CEO of KeNHA said the 457m long Makupa Bridge will replace the historic Makupa Causeway which connects Mombasa Island to the mainland.
The 120 meter Makupa causeway structure between Tudor and Port Reitz creeks was built in the 1920s by the British colonial government and is said to have interfered with natural ocean waves, the free flow of aqueous oxygen and it was also a cause of damage to fish breeding grounds, in addition to causing pollution.
Eng Omwono said the Makupa Bridge will help end delays and reduce accidents and finally restore Mombasa’s status as an island city in its own right.
“Inside Makupa Bridge traffic is open but outbound traffic has not been opened yet as the access roads are still in progress,” he said and asked the contractor to complete the works. remaining jobs at a faster rate while maintaining the quality of all jobs.
The KeNHA boss spoke as he embarked on a tour of the projects to inspect progress accompanied by Coast Regional (RC) Commissioner John Elungata and the Director of the Presidential Coast Region Delivery Unit, Polycarp Onyango.
He said the projects would reduce the cost of doing business in the region by reducing vehicle operating costs, reducing travel time and improving mobility.
The Dongo Kundu project’s resident engineer, Moses Mwakira, said the construction of the projects will make the region and the country a transportation hub.
Eng Mwakira said that the Dongo Kundu bypass project is 53% complete and will be operational in 2024, adding that the bypass will provide alternative routes to the south coast, thereby reducing congestion on Likoni ferries.
Elungata, while appreciating the scope of the projects, said they will facilitate trade and movement to and from neighboring Tanzania via Kwale, thus fostering regional cooperation.
The CR said the Dongo Kundu bypass is seen as the solution to the Likoni ferry congestion, which is responsible for the slow growth of the south coast region.
“Once phase two of the bypass is completed, it will connect the western mainland to the southern coast via Tsunza and open up the entire hinterland of Kwale County while reducing traffic at the Likoni Crossing Channel,” said- he explained.
He said that once all kinds of ongoing works are completed, people will have more convenience to travel and areas will be developed at a faster pace.
The CR said ongoing megaprojects have increased demand for construction materials and created thousands of jobs for locals, changing lives and livelihoods as infrastructure is delivered to the hinterland.
Elungata said outgoing President Kenyatta’s government has a policy of “leaving no one or place behind” in terms of development.
He said the Dongo Kundu project comes with a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) which will kick off a series of events that are expected to make Mombasa a regional logistics and manufacturing hub.
“The Special Economic Zone Development Project in Dongo Kundu is one of the Vision 2030 flagship projects in the region,” he noted.
A free trade zone, the Dongo Kundu Free Trade Zone, with 6,200 sites that can accommodate more than 10,000 business units is part of the planned development.
By Hussein Abdullahi