In June 2021, construction work will begin on one of Kenya's most ambitious projects, the Mombasa Gates Bridge (MGB).
Estimated to cost Ksh82 billion, the bridge will connect Mombasa Island with the South Coast, replacing a ferry operation, which first began operation in 1937, and the recently opened Liwatoni floating footbridge.
A feasibility study carried out by the Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) for the 1.4km bridge is now complete and construction of the link bridge is expected to take 36 months to complete.
The cable-stayed/powered bridge will carry four traffic lanes and will be 69-Metre high at mid-point, leaving sufficient space for ships to pass underneath so as to access the busy Kilindini area of the port.An artistic impression of the Mombasa Gate Bridge.File
Mombasa’s drivers will be pleased to see the less than dependable ferry service being replaced by a bridge and the project is expected to improve transport and traffic flow to and from Mombasa significantly.
The new bridge will run from Lumumba Road and span the Likoni Channel at Mwenza Creek and connect to the A14 at Mtongwe.
Two bridges connect the north side of Mombasa Island to the mainland but the southern link at Likoni has suffered from congestion and delays for many years with insufficient maintenance of the ferries having posed a problem in recent times.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani and the Japanese ambassador to Kenya, Ryoichi Horie, recently signed a loan agreement, paving the way for the construction of the bridge to begin in 2021, a welcome move for tourism players in the South coast.
The concessionary loan is payable in 28 years with a grace period of 12 years. KeNHA will oversee the construction works of the project.
According to Joseph Straus, an American structural engineer, the bridge will also significantly complement the Dongo Kundu road bypass, which is almost complete and is expected to boost trade and tourism on the South Coast.
On the Mombasa Island side, the bridge structure starts on Lumumba Road near King’orani Prison and will rise to cross over the Mombasa Railway Station, then overhead Moi Avenue to the west of Canon Towers.
The bridge will then crisscross Archbishop Makarios Rd to Ganjoni, turn right overhead Liwatoni and crosses Likoni Channel to enter Likoni side at the ruins of the abandoned Sultan of Zanzibar Place near Puma Primary school.
The proposed bridge will then proceed along the eastern shoreline of Mweza creek and start descending ultimately touching down near the Javi la Wageni Primary School from where it proceeds as a 4 lane highway to cross Mtongwe Rd at the Post Office then joining the Mombasa Southern Bypass at Ziwani on the boundary with Kwale County.
The entire bridge construction project will displace a total of 1201 housing structures, of which 76.8% are accounted for by Likoni and Shika Adabu Locations of Mainland South.
A total of 691 permanent buildings equivalent to 57.5% of all building structures are likely to be displaced followed by temporary buildings at 42.5%.
A total of 833 Commercial Business Enterprises (CBEs) both small and large are likely to be displaced by the bridge.
However, none of the four shrines situated along the traverse of the MGB will be displaced. The MGB will traverse the outer (secondary) grounds of Kaya Makame on the shoreline of Port Reitz Creek at Bofu Maskani and entirely displace a minor one owned by the Mwahima family in Shika Adabu.
A total of 7 public schools are on the path of the project and its access roads and are likely to be affected. However, none of the schools will suffer total displacement as the Bridge project will only affect minor portions such as perimeter fencing, while the rest of the property is left intact.
A total of 16,713 assorted agroforestry trees are likely to be displaced in the development of the MGB and assorted roads, 63.4% of which occur in Shika Adabu. Timber trees alone account for 51.22% of the trees followed by fruit trees account for 46.8%
In all cases, compensation will be paid upfront of site hand-over to contractors in order to allow all aggrieved parties adequate time to amicably resolve disputes.
The latest megaproject in Mombasa County marks a recent trend of similar projects such as the Mama Ngina Waterfront restoration.President Uhuru Kenyatta unveils the Liwatoni Floating Bridge in Likoni, MombasaPSCU
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