How Sh2bn bridge is helping South Coast tourism recovery


Ferry users crossing the Likioni channel at the Liwatoni Floating Bridge in Mombasa in this photo taken on 10th April 2021. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

A number of key infrastructure projects in the South Coast are now playing a major part in boosting tourism in the region, coming as a huge relief following the ravages of the Covid pandemic.

One of the projects is Liwatoni footbridge which has improved ferry operations motivating tour operators to resume their tours in South Coast.

The Sh1.9 billion footbridge has reduced congestion and eased human and vehicular movement across the Likoni channel which serves about 350,000 passengers and 7,000 vehicles daily.

The Liwatoni bridge opens daily for pedestrians at 6 am and closes at 8 am, after which residents are allowed to use the ferry. In the evening, it opens again between 4 pm and 8 pm, when a majority of people leave work.

During the evening peak hours, only vehicles, people with disabilities and essential health workers are allowed to use the ferries.

Users say that the bridge has helped curb stampedes that were frequent when travellers boarded ferries.

“I had suspended my trips from Moi International Airport to Diani in South Coast due to perennial traffic jam but since the opening of Liwatoni bridge, traffic has eased as the vessels are mostly are used by vehicles,” said John Mwala, a Mombasa tour operator.

There are seven operational ferries MV Jambo, Safari, Likoni, kwale, Nyayo, Kilindini, and Harambee have played key role in ferrying vehicles thus easing traffic which wused to be the norm about two years ago.

A hotelier Mohammed Hersi said Liwatoni bridge is important for tourism, adding that the Dongo Kundu project, which is now taking shape, will open up South Coast which is one of the region’s tourist hubs.

“Dongo Kundu will connect Mombasa and Kwale and its location is strategic since it is located next to Moi International Airport,” said Mr Hersi.

The Dongo Kundu bypass project is 85 per cent complete, with final construction taking place at the Mteza Bridge, which is meant to help connect Mombasa to Kwale without going through Mombasa Island and using the ferry.

The project is expected to be officially opened by June this year.

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