Ferry services at the Mtongwe Channel are set for a major boost as Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) plans to construct ramps at a cost of Sh350 million each.
The construction of the ramps will allow vehicles to use the Mtongwe channel whose services resumed recently, after a one-year suspension.
KFS said the funds have already been set aside for the construction of ramp on the mainland side of the channel.
The channel is set to get two ramps on both mainland and Island side at a total cost of Sh700 million.
KFS managing director Bakari Gowa said the construction of the mainland side ramp will start this week.
“We have secured funds for the mainland side ramp whose construction will cost Sh350 million before we move to the Island side. The project will be done within 18 months,” said Mr Gowa.
The construction of the ramps will allow vehicles to use the channel, a move that will decongest the Likoni channel which is currently being used by at least 7, 000 cars daily.
“We will deploy more ferries to the channel (Mtongwe) once the ramps are constructed. They will be of huge help in decongesting the Likoni channel,” added Mr Gowa.
Currently, only one ferry is being used at the Mtongwe channel to ferry residents to the Mombasa Island.
It is now a week since the Mtongwe residents started enjoying the services which had been suspended on September last year for repairs that costed taxpayers Sh28 million.
The works at the channel involved repairs of ferry landing platforms, pillars and the gangways on both sides of the channel.
The temporary repairs were undertaken to mainly ensure the safety of users of the channel.
Meanwhile, Mr Gowa said the focus to improve the Mtongwe channel is part of agency’s efforts in bringing long term solutions to congestion experienced at the Likoni channel.
The Likoni channel which is being used by more than 300, 000 people daily has been rocked by both pedestrian and vehicular congestion for quite some time now.
“We are also looking forward to the foot bridge whose construction is ongoing to help us deal with the perennial congestion at the Likoni channel,” he added.
He said once completed the Likoni floating bridge which is being constructed at a cost of Sh1.7 billion will help deal with at least 40 per cent of the pedestrian congestion at the Likoni channel.
“Even if it is a smaller percentage of the pedestrian, it will help deal with the problem. All our efforts are aimed at ensuring we have smooth operations at the Likoni,” added the MD.