Construction of phase two and three of the Dongo Kundu bypass could soon be underway after the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) issued an advert seeking bidders for the tender.
The roads agency says the government has secured funds for construction of the road that is expected to ease congestion at the Likoni channel where ferries break down perennially.
The bypass, which is part of a plan targeting regional trade with a special economic zone, is scheduled for completion in 2018.
Works in phase two will involve construction of two bridges - one at Mwache which will be 660 metres long and another one at Mteza 1,440 metres long - as well as a sightseeing bay.
At least 88 hectares of mangroves will also be replanted, according to the notice.
Early this year, the State announced it had received a loan of Sh25 billion to commence works on the key infrastructure.
Phase two of the project consists of an 8.9-kilometre road between Mwache Junction and Mteza, while phase three will be a 6.9-kilometre stretch between Mteza and Kibundani, linking the highway with the Likoni-Lunga Lunga road.
“Bidders should deposit a security of an unconditional bank guarantee of Sh200 million for phase one of the project and Sh50 million for the third phase,” KeNHA said in the notice published in local dailies on Tuesday.
“There will be a site visit and pre-bid meeting which will be held on June 14 at the KeNHA regional offices,” it added.
First stage complete
Construction of the first phase - an 11-kilometre road between Mombasa port and Miritini - is 70 per cent complete at a cost of Sh11 billion, according to officials.
It runs from Mombasa port’s second container terminal and links to the Mombasa-Nairobi highway at Bonje, near Mazeras.
“This is a very important project because the road will help evacuate cargo from the port. You realize that there is a lot of congestion at Jomvu and Miritini, a problem we are trying to address by creating this link,” Infrastructure Principal Secretary John Musonik said in a recent interview.
Other projects KeNHA is undertaking at the coast include the ongoing expansion of the Port Reitz and widening of the airport and Mombasa-Miritini roads into dual carriageways.
Business stakeholders in the region, including those in the tourism industry, have welcomed the project as a much-needed shot in the arm.
“We in the tourism industry have always believed that the road is the key that would unlock the potential of Ukunda and Diani,” said Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) executive officer Sam Ikwaye.
He said the bypass would also encourage investors in the sector, since they were shying away from injecting cash in an area facing serious transport problems.
“While over the years we have received numerous complaints by guests who miss flights after being delayed at the crossing, cancellations of major events in Diani hotels have been blamed on the inconveniences at the ferries,” he added.
The projects are funded by the Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA), the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB).