President Uhuru Kenyatta is slated to officially open the first phase of the Sh11 billion Dongo Kundu bypass to decongest Mombasa which has been bedevilled by huge traffic snarl-ups affecting movement of people and goods.
Mombasa is Kenya’s main international gateway by sea and crucial to the country’s economy.
The Port of Mombasa is also used by most of neighbouring land-locked countries to import goods.
Deputy President William Ruto announced during his recent tour of the coast that ended Thursday that Mr Kenyatta will open the 10-kilometre bypass Thursday.
He said the government was building the Mombasa-Mariakani Road that would ease traffic along the busy Nairobi highway.
“And this Thursday, the President will be here to open the Southern Bypass road, which has already been completed and we will continue putting up roads here, as you are aware Dongo Kundu will go up to Kwale County.
“All this is done to ensure that Mombasa is among counties being developed by our government,” said Mr Ruto.
Opened last week
The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), headed by Director-General Peter Mundinia, opened the bypass to the public last week.
Plans are underway to build the second and third phases of the bypass to connect the North and South coast.
KeNHA Assistant Director of Corporate Communication Charles Njogu said the bypass is expected to decongest the Mombasa-Nairobi highway.
The work started in July 2016. The road runs from Mombasa port’s second container terminal to Nairobi highway at Bonje, near Mazeras.
“This is a milestone in government efforts to decongest Mombasa city and its environs and it will open up the South and North coast,” said Mr Njogu.
He said that the second and third phases of Dongo Kundu bypass, which will cost Sh30 billion, will start soon.
The phases involve a 8.9km road between Mwache Junction and Mteza and a 6.9 kilometre one between Mteza and Kibundani, linking the highway with the Likoni-Lunga Lunga Road.
There will be an interchange at the Likoni-Lunga Lunga highway. Two bridges, one at Mwache (900 metres long) and another at Mteza (1.4km) will also be done.
30 years ago
The bypass was proposed 30 years ago to decongest Mombasa.
Part one of the Mombasa Port Area Road Development Project involved the Miritini to Kipevu Link Road with an interchange at Miritini.
Works involved relocation of the railway line over a section of 1.09km and construction of a 62 metre span bridge.
A weighbridge will be build along the Kipevu link road and a dual carriageway from Miritini Junction through Mwache Junction to Kipevu, totalling 10.1km.
The work is funded by the Japanese International Co-operation. According to KeNHA, tendering for building of the transnational highway from Lunga Lunga on the Kenya-Tanzania border to Malindi has began. The road is will also help decongest the port city.
A dual carriageway will be built between Likoni and the busy tourist hub of Diani in Kwale, with the highway to Lunga Lunga from Diani being widened.
“KeNHA is informed by the need to decongest Mombasa and facilitate ceaseless vehicular and pedestrian movement,” said Mr Mundinia.