Massive investment by the National Government on the infrastructural improvement and other mega projects is dramatically transforming the coastal region.
The projects, described as a game changer, includes the recently commissioned Lamu Port, the on-going construction of phase two of the Sh24 billion Dongo-kundu bypass and several other roads.
The Coast Regional Commissioner (RC), John Elungata, said the huge resources committed by the government for the infrastructural improvement and other critical projects has positioned the region as an attractive destination for investment, trade and tourism.
“The construction of the Lamu Port and other key infrastructural projects will provide job opportunities, boost business and other economic activities,” said Elungata, who is also the Chairman of the Regional Development Implementation Coordination Committee.
Speaking, Thursday, when he led the Committee members on an inspection tour of the construction of the phase two of Dongo-kundu project, also known as Mombasa Southern bypass, Elungata urged area residents to embrace the projects which are aimed at boosting the economy of the region and the country at large.
The Regional Commissioner, said the Dongo-kundu project which will connect Mombasa to the South Coast in Kwale County, is aimed at easing transport, boost industrial development and accelerate movement of cargo from Mombasa Port.
He said the Mombasa Southern bypass will provide an alternative to the busy and overcrowded Likoni crossing channel which has badly affected business and movement of people.
“The completion of the project will drastically reduce traveling distance between Mombasa, Kwale and other surrounding areas,” added Elungata, saying 70 per cent of the workforce is locals.
Elungata noted that the project will see a free movement of marine vessels that need to access Likoni Harbour, as well as enhance traffic to the south coast and also boost trade between Kenya and Tanzania.
He further said the modern bypass being constructed by Fujita Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan will also greatly improve security in the area.
He said the region is also a beneficiary of other projects such as the 114km Garsen-Witu-Lamu Highway and Shimoni and Vanga road projects in Kwale County.
The Deputy Project Director, Eng. Eustace Mutea, said the construction of phase two of the bypass is progressing well and is set for completion in 2024.
“We might complete the project ahead of the stipulated period because we have mobilized all the required equipment and put in place the necessary logistics,” said Eng. Mutea, who was accompanied by Fujita’s Project Director, Lau Jeck Deng.
He said the project will include construction of an 8.9km road between Mwache junction and Mteza and a 6.9km road between Mteza and Kibundani, linking the Highway to the Likoni-Lunga Lunga road where there will be an interchange.
In addition, Eng. Mutea said two bridges will be constructed, one at Mwache 900m long and another at Mteza of 1,400m long.
The Dongo-Kundu bypass also entails a Special Economic Zone project which was launched in 2019 and is one of the flagship projects of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and upon completion is expected to develop Mombasa into a world class industrial hub and a gateway city for the entire Eastern and Central Africa.
The bypass whose first phase of Sh11 billion was completed in 2018, includes the construction of a series of roads and bridges linking Mombasa West to the South Coast in Kwale County.
Last week, at a colourful ceremony, President Uhuru Kenyatta Commissioned the Lamu Port and launched berth No. 1 and container terminal No. 1 in Manda Bay.
According to the maritime stakeholders, the Port will catapult Kenya into the league of key global transshipment and commercial maritime hubs.
It is expected to give huge competition to established ports such as Durban of South Africa, Djibouti and Salalah of Oman.
By Mohamed Hassan