How Likoni Floating Bridge Mechanism Works [VIDEO]

  • Likoni Floating Bridge open in preparation for an incoming ship
    Likoni Floating Bridge opened in preparation for an incoming ship
  • A number of Kenyans have continued to treat the 1.2km Likoni Floating Bridge with scepticism as many struggle to understand how a bridge can float on the rough waters of the ocean; opening and closing on command.

    "This project has a lot of unique and creative elements. Ordinary floating bridges are stationary but in order to reduce the amount of time required for the shipping channel to open and close we fashioned a built-in automated mechanism so that it can swing open on its own without the need for boats to push it into place,” explained China Road & Bridge Corporation Project Manager Jiang Quanxin.

    According to Quanxin, at the Port of Mombasa is the busiest in East Africa and the Likoni channel can have 7 to 8 ships crossing in a day, which means the bridge is very active during the day; opening and closing.

    A ship passing through the Likoni Floating Bridge
    A ship passing through the Likoni Floating Bridge

    The opening and closing mechanism takes approximately 30 minutes, and with the port of Mombasa receiving 7 to 8 ships a day, pedestrians are often inconvenienced while using the Likoni Floating Bridge.

    “We have spoken with Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) engineers about modifications to the opening and closing mechanism. Once the modification is done, the bridge will open and close in about 10-15 minutes. 

    “The modification will enable continuous operation of the bridge and pedestrians will not have to wait for any windows to cross,” Kenya Ports Authority operations boss Geoffrey Namadoa explained. 

    Although designed to last for more than 50 years, the Likoni Floating Bridge will be dismantled for good in 2025, once the proposed Mombasa Gate Bridge is built.

    The permanent bridge located next to the Likoni Floating Bridge will be erected 70 metres above sea level to allow ships to pass underneath.

    The cable-powered bridge with four traffic lanes, will run from Lumumba Road and span the Likoni Channel at Mwenza Creek and connect to the A14 at Mtongwe.

    On the Mombasa Island side, the bridge structure will start on Lumumba Road near King’orani Prison and will rise to cross over the Mombasa Railway Station, then over Moi Avenue to the west of Canon Towers.

    The bridge will then crisscross Archbishop Makarios Rd to Ganjoni, turn right overhead Liwatoni, and cross Likoni Channel (with a height of 69 meters at mid-point to allow ships to pass underneath to access Kilindini Port) to enter Likoni side at the ruins of the abandoned Sultan of Zanzibar Place near Puma Primary school.

    It 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 will proceeds as a 4 lane highway to cross Mtongwe Road at the Post Office then join the Mombasa Southern Bypass at Ziwani on the boundary with Kwale County.