Several infrastructure development projects are taking shape in Mombasa at unparalleled speed and are set to enhance its image as the gateway to East and Central Africa and as a tourism hub.
The ongoing construction and upgrade of infrastructure projects worth billions of shillings by the national government is aimed at facilitating transportation of goods and passengers and boost the coastal city’s economy.
Among the top mega projects under development stretching across the seaside city include the Sh16 billion three-deckers Changamwe interchange, the Sh4.5 billion Makupa Bridge and the Sh22 billion Dongo Kundu Bypass also known as the Mombasa Southern Bypass.
All the multibillion shillings infrastructure projects are moving forward at an unparalleled speed as the August 9, 2022 general election looms large.
The Changamwe interchange is a crucial section of the Mombasa – Mariakani road project and falls under Lot 1 of the project (Mombasa – Kwa Jomvu section).
The Dualling of the Mombasa – Mariakani road will significantly reduce traffic congestion in Mombasa and therefore strengthen the viability of the coastal region as a preferred tourist destination and Mombasa as a preferred gateway into the East African region.
Construction of the six-lane Mombasa-Mariakani road at a cost of Sh22 billion has begun with funding from the European Investment Bank, Africa Development Bank and the government of Kenya.
The Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) said the projects were set for completion in August this year since only five percent of the construction is remaining.
KeNHA Regional Director Engineer Simon Omolo said once complete, the dual road would significantly reduce traffic congestion of the region thus strengthening the viability of the most preferred tourist destination.
“To enhance the capacity of this interchange, we have moved from two lane carriageway to six lane carriageways. We have also improved safety by providing a pedestrian section,” said Omolo.
On the other hand, the 457 meter Makupa Bridge will replace the historic Makupa causeway that links Mombasa Island to the mainland.
The Sh4.5 billion bridge design comprises four lanes parallel bridges with a width of 20 meters each and an extra two meter rail for non-motorized traffic and a pedestrian footpath.
The project has been under construction since April 2021 and was scheduled for completion in April this year but has been delayed for extra two months as it is set to be completed in June.
According to the project’s Resident Engineer Stephen Gichuru, the bridge will help end traffic delays, reduce road accidents and would finally restore the status of Mombasa as an island city.
“This project will connect the Tudor and Port Reitz creeks and pave the way for the demolition of the Makupa causeway, which will see Mombasa revert to its natural status as an island,” said Gichuru.
Coast Regional Commissioner (RC) John Elungata says the upgrades and expansion of local road infrastructure projects would greatly improve economic activities and fortunes in the coastal county.
Elungata who is also the chairman of the Regional Development Implementation and Coordination Committee (RDICC) says the government is committed to improving road infrastructure and delivery of quality projects in the region.
According to Elungata, the projects currently underway are part of plans by the national government to ease congestion on the coastal city’s roads and make them safer.
He says the many new road projects would in the long run ease the evacuation of cargo from and into the port of Mombasa which is experiencing increased shipping activities.
The RC noted the construction of the new roads and upgrading of the existing ones would help reduce travel time, improve road connectivity as well as improve socio-economic activities in the coastal city and beyond.
Elungata said apart from decongesting Mombasa city, the major road works would also facilitate the growth of the tourism sector in the region.
“The major upgrades will relieve congestion on existing infrastructure and unlock the economic opportunities in the region by helping create jobs,” said Elungata.
“These infrastructure upgrades will go a long way towards unlocking the economic potential of Mombasa as a gateway to the East African region,” he said.
The Regional Commissioner said all these projects represent major investment in transport infrastructure, which is a driver for economic growth and prosperity.
By Mohamed Hassan and Chari Suche