The government has settled on a contractor for the building of Sh5.8 billion Likoni cable cars.
Doppelmayr Group will start the construction in May. The Austrian-based company handles technology projects.
The work will take two years with commuters expected to start enjoying the cable car services from 2020.
Trapos Limited, who are the sponsors of the project, and the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) signed the concession agreement of the multi-billion shilling project last December.
In an interview with the Business Daily at his office in Mombasa, KFS managing director Bakari Gowa on Thursday said the organisation is finalising discussions on land to be used to erect a mast to support the cable cars.
“The issues we are handling now are minor ones because the land has been identified. Another issue is the appointment of directors who will represent the KFS to the Likoni Cable Cars Ltd,” said Mr Gowa.
According to the agreement, once Trapos Ltd settles on the investor, the project will be handled by Likoni Cable Cars Express Ltd which will manage it for 25 years.
“After the 25 years concession, KFS or any eligible company will upgrade, maintain and ensure delivery to the users,” the MD said.
The express link will have 22 cable cars, which will carry 38 passengers per cabin. It will carry 11,000 commuters per hour in both directions which will total 180,000 people a day.
Commuters will cross the 500m channel in about three minutes. They will pay between Sh20 and Sh100 depending on the mode and the type of operation.
Mr Gowa said the project will help in decongesting the Likoni Channel, which is used by 330,000 people and more than 6,000 vehicles daily.
Likoni, Mtongwe links
The Likoni and Mtongwe channels are currently the only links to the South Coast by road.
KFS is banking on the cable cars to give commuters using the Likoni channel long term solutions to transport hitches through cable cars and better maintenance of the ferries.
On Mtongwe Channel, Mr Gowa said KFS is planning to allow carrying of both people and vehicles on the ferries.
He said this will be done after the acquisition of land.
“The plans to have expansion of access roads of the Mtongwe Channel are included in this year’s financial plan.
"We are projecting to have more people coming to the South Coast when will have the new project,” said Mr Gowa.
Currently, at least 15,000 people are using the Mtongwe channel, whose services were reinstated by President Uhuru Kenyatta in March last year.