Boost for Kilifi residents as unique Sh2.3bn bridge almost complete


Deputy President William Ruto commission the construction of Baricho Bridge in Malindi, Kilifi County in this photo taken on 28th September 2018. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

A Sh2.3 billion bridge in Malindi is 90 percent complete, coming as a boost to residents and traders in Kilifi County.

The unique bridge at Baricho, Malindi sub-county in Kilifi County will enhance connectivity across waterways.

The Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) engineers led by its chairman Prof Ouko Mbeche who toured the facility during the weekend to oversee the final phase of completion of the first-ever box girder bridge, said the project will ease connectivity and curb calamities.

A box girder bridge, or box section bridge, is where the main beams comprise girders in the shape of a hollow box. The box girder normally comprises prestressed concrete, structural steel, or a composite of steel and reinforced concrete. The box is typically rectangular or trapezoidal in cross-section.

KeRRA said the bridge will be larger than that of Mtwapa and will last for more than 100 years.

The project, whose construction was designed by Kenyan engineers and built by a Chinese company, commenced in 2018 and employed more than 500 locals.

“This (bridge) is the first of its kind to be done in this country. Its design was done by our local engineers, Otieno Odongo and partners,” said Prof Mbeche

“We have had bridges done in the 1950s but you have seen the calamities when they collapse due to environmental challenges. Nowadays people till the land along the rivers and embankments erode.”

The KeRRA chairman said local engineers have employed cutting-edge technology to retain the embankments.

“This bridge is supported from the middle of the river. These things can be done here with the help of Chinese contractors,” said Prof Mbeche who took engineering students to learn about the new technology.

Sammy Tangus, an engineer, said the project is unique as the box girder is constructed from the “centre away towards the banks of the river”. The central part of the project is 116 metres wide. The bridge is 241 metres long.

“In the layman language, the girder box is the main bridge across the River Galana which is 95 percent complete,” said Mr Tangus.

The contractor said once the equipment is availed it would take them up to the end of March to complete the remaining works. Currently, the project is over 80 percent complete while the bridge is over 90 percent complete.

“The central part of the bridge is 116 metres wide, there are three approach spans of 25 metres each on the Langobaya side which makes it 75 metres while on the Baricho side there are two approach spans of 25 metres each making the whole bridge to be 241 metres long,” said Mr Tangus, noting that the construction was conducted at night due to high temperatures.

The commercial manager of China Railway Number 10 Engineering Group Ltd, Li Jieyang said locals will no longer cross the river on foot or by canoes.

The Chinese company has been training many Kenyan engineers on modern technologies and equipment stationed at the site.

“This technology is being used in Kenya for the first time. KeRRA brought its engineering students to learn about the steps of building this important project,” he said.