The government has kicked off the process of constructing the second Nyali bridge in Mombasa as it eyes an end to perennial traffic jams along the road linking the Island and north coast.
The Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) last week asked interested firms to apply for pre-qualification of design and construction of the bridge in an international tender.
“KURA hereby invites sealed applications from competent local and international firms or consortia to pre-qualify and bid to design, finance, construct, operate, maintain and hand over the second Nyali bridge under Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement,” said the notice published last Friday.
The project, which was initially set to begin last year and be completed by 2018, will involve construction of a new 600 metre bridge and 400 metres of roads approaching the bridge.
It also involves expansion of Abdel Nasser road - which is 600 metre long - from Bondeni to Buxton stage and Links roads.
Links road runs from gate A of the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) showground at Mkomani to Nyali Centre off Mombasa-Malindi road.
Prospective bidders are supposed to pay a non-refundable fee of Sh100,000 and submit their bids before October 26 2017.
On September 26 this year, a month before the deadline, KURA will conduct a pre-qualification conference drawing together prospective bidders.
“The purpose of the conference is to clarify any part of the request for qualification or the bidding process and to answer any relevant questions,” the agency said in the notice.
The second Nyali bridge is one of the roads earmarked for tolling by the government.
The planned tolling has elicited criticism from some analysts who say the move would amount to double taxation.
Construction of the key infrastructure expected to ease congestion at the Nyali bridge where motorists spend hours in traffic jam.
Mombasa's business and tourism community stakeholders welcomed the move, saying it will help address transport challenges in the tourist hub.
“The second bridge will ease pressure on the island and with expansion of the airport road, we expect that travellers will take a short time from the airport to hotels in the north coast, boosting conference tourism segment,” Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) coast branch executive officer Mr Sam Ikwaye said.
However, he reckons that to permanently address the problem of congestion in the county, the government should consider constructing a bypass connecting Miritini and Mtwapa town.
“This will enable motorists travelling from Nairobi and other destinations to north coast to access to the Mombasa-Malindi road without passing through the island,” he said.