Pre-engineering works on the Sh5.8billion Likoni cable cars project is set to start next week.
The works will involve a survey of the land where landing stations and masts will be build on the two sides of the Likoni channel.
“This week officers will be on the ground to do pre-engineering in readiness for take off,” said Trapos Limited Communication Officer Mutahi Munyi.
Trapos is the sponsor of the project. The firm entered into an agreement with Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) to build the multi-billion shilling project last December. KFS Managing-Director Bakari Gowa said the officials' mission will be to survey the land before the actual work starts.
“The land where they are to be build must be given a clean bill of health for use,” said Mr Gowa.
Construction of the project is set to begin before August. The project, which was delayed due to land ownership wrangles between KFS and Kenya National Highways Authority, now awaits Cabinet approval.
"Since all contractual agreements between concerned government agencies have been done, we are waiting for the Cabinet to give a nod for the project to start,” said Mr Munyi. C&C Construction Company will build the infrastructure which includes two 90-metre high masts and two landing stations on the mainland and the island sides.
The company will work with Doppelmayr Group which will be in charge of the techonogical part of the project.
The group manufactures cable cars and ski lifts. It will transfer the technology to Likoni Cable Express Limited.
The project is being undertaken under the public private partnership deal. It is expected to take two years to complete and employ 500 people. The project will operate seven days a week with a crossing time of less than three minutes.
The project is slated to be the first commuter aerial cable car system in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The heavy traffic at the Likoni channel crossing has been cited among the top challenges facing the tourism industry. International visitors arriving in Mombasa through Moi International Airport often endure long hours of waiting for space in the poorly maintained ferries to cross to their destinations.
Over 300,000 people and 6,000 vehicles cross the channel every day. The concession period will last for 25 years, after which the investor is expected to hand the project over to the government. The 500 -metre stretch.
Ferries take about 10 minutes to move passengers across the channel but delays of up to 40 minutes have been reported in the past due to frequent breakdowns.
The Ministry of Transport is banking on the installation of cable cars across the Likoni channel and the construction of the Dongo Kundu by-pass to decongest Mombasa Island.