Team Moves to Review Safety of Mombasa Floating Bridge

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    Mombasa residents use the new Liwatoni floating bridge on New Year's Day, January 1, 2021
  • A committee comprising of various agencies has moved to monitor the safety of the Ksh 1.9 billion Liwatoni Floating Bridge in Mombasa County.

    The bridge was officially opened for public use on Friday, January 1. 

    Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Kenya Coast Guard Services (KUCGS), the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), the National Police Service (NPS) and the Coast Regional Commissioners office were brought together to form the task force.  

    "The committee will address the safety of both pedestrians and vessels at the floating bridge and also bolster safety standards and confidence of commuters," KMA Director General Robert Njue said on Wednesday, January 13.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta unveils the Liwatoni Floating Bridge in Likoni, Mombasa

    They will also carry out a daily review of operations, analyse reports, carry out risks assessment and develop standard operating procedures. 

    The committee was further tasked with unveiling rapid response plans, awareness for the public and engaging government agencies on safety issues aligned with the bridge. 

    KPA, the agency operating the bridge, released a timetable stating when it would be opened and closed for pedestrians and vessels at Likoni Channel.

    The 800-meter bridge will be opened in the morning between 6 am and 8 am and in the evening hours between 4 pm and 6 pm.

    Residents had lamented that they were left stranded while using the bridge due to the confusion surrounding operation hours and they also questioned its safety. 

    "Nahofia naweza kuanguka nikazama ndani ya maji. Tunaskia ni floating bridge hatujui kama ni tiles za pumzi zimewekwa kule chini - inatatanisha sana. I fear that the bridge may collapse and I drown. All we know is that the bridge floats, but we do not know how," one coastal resident said. 

    "Whenever you have goods or children, you will opt for the ferry as it eases your burdens," a mother with two children waiting to cross the channel added. 

    The bridge was constructed to ease traffic as over 300,000 residents congest on ferries in the rush hour periods. Several accidents have also been witnessed at the Likoni Channel as motorists and pedestrians cross the Indian Ocen using the ferry. 

    A bus plunged into the ocean while transporting tourists in on the morning of Sunday, January 10. No casualties were reported.

    Three days later, a trailer also plunged into the ocean at the same spot. Another vehicle, an SGA Security pickup, further overturned near the channel. 

    A bus plunged into the Indian Ocean on Sunday, January 10, 2020.
    A bus plunged into the Indian Ocean on Sunday, January 10, 2021