Kenya is set to begin construction of the Mombasa Gate Bridge project. Treasury acting Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani and the Japanese ambassador to Kenya, Ryoichi Horie, signed a loan agreement, paving the way for the construction of the bridge to begin in 2021.
The concessionary loan is payable in 28 years with a grace period of 12 years. The US $2bn bridge aims to facilitate traffic between the city of Mombasa, the South Coast and Kwale. Feasibility study for the project was completed in 2017, followed by environmental and social assessment which took two years paving way for the actual construction works.
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Mombasa Gate Bridge project
According to the design, the cable-supported bridge will be 69m from the highest water level and 1.4km long. Once complete in 4 years, the new bridge will offer an alternative passage to the Likoni Ferry which normally caters for the Kenya Ferry Service that is currently the only available crossing between Mombasa Island and the South Coast.
The Kenya National Highway Authority (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 is expected to boost trade and tourism on the South Coast.
Economic development in this region has stagnated for years due to poor infrastructure. Over the years aging ferries have been the main means of travel across the Likoni channel. For many years, the government has toyed with the idea of either building a bridge, a tunnel or a cable car across the Likoni channel.
A report presented to the Mtongwe ferry disaster commission stated that plans for the building of a bridge or a tunnel across the channel had been in the pipeline for decades, but had always been put off because of a lack of funds.