Mombasa cheered on Thursday when President Uhuru Kenyatta officially opened the iconic Dongo Kundu bypass, a key transport link that will open up the Coast to investment and fasten the movement of goods and people in Kenya’s second largest city.
The President commissioned the first phase of the bypass, constructed at a cost of Sh11 billion, which will ease the perennial traffic congestion that hampered the movement of people and goods from Kenya’s oldest and second largest city.
The 10 kilometre bypass runs from the Second Container Terminal of the Mombasa Port and joins the Mombasa – Nairobi Highway at Bonje near Mazeras.
“This road we are commissioning today is a unique piece of infrastructure. It is designed with provisions to integrate seamlessly with the Port of Mombasa, the Moi International Airport, the Standard Gauge Railway, the Nairobi-Mombasa Highway, and the upcoming Mombasa Northern Bypass,” said the President at Bonje where the launch ceremony was held.
The President said the completion of the project comes at a time when the capacity of the Mombasa Port has increased significantly and led to increased movement of goods through Kenya.
The Dongo Kundu Bypass also referred to as the southern bypass was proposed 30 years ago to decongest the port city and also provide an alternative route, besides the Likoni Ferry, to link the south coast with the mainland.
For residents of the coastal city, its environs and users of the Mombasa Port, hopes of the proposal for the ocean bypass being implemented looked like a mirage until President Kenyatta’s Administration came into office and embarked on the initiative to develop roads to boost the economy of the coast region.
Under his direction, the Jubilee Administration embarked on a Sh100 billion road development exercise in the coast region with the Dongo Kundu Bypass first on the priority list.
The Government awarded the tender for the first phase of the project to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation in July 2015 with a timeline of 36 months.
The completion of the projects is seen as achievement a laudable milestone that signifies the commitment of President Kenyatta’s Administration to enhance the coast region’s economic growth.
The bypass is designed to ease the huge traffic snarl-ups that have always affected movement of people and evacuation of goods from Mombasa, which is the international sea gateway to Kenya and neighbouring countries.
Most of the neighbouring countries in the region which are land-locked depend on Mombasa Port and the Mombasa – Nairobi Highway to import goods.
The Bypass will open up the South Coast and North Coast and will boost the economy of the port city as well as that of the entire nation and region.
The opening of the first phase will be followed by the start of the constriction of the second and third phases, which will cost Sh30 billion.
The two new phases, that will link the Mombasa – Nairobi Highway with the Likoni-Lungalunga Road, will include a 8.9 kilometre road from Mwache Junction to Mteza and a 6.9 kilometre road from Mteza to Kibundani.
It will also include an Interchange on the Likoni – Lungalunga Road and the installation of a 900 metres long bridge at Mwache and another bridge spanning 1.4 kilometre at Mteza.
The opening of the Dongo Kundu Bypass comes at the back of major milestones achieved by the Government in infrastructure development.
Notable projects completed since 2013 include the Isiolo – Moyale Road, Mariakani Bamba Road, Outering Road in Nairobi, Mwatate – Taveta Road, Nyamasaria to Kisumu Airport, Mau Summit to Kericho, Port Reitz/Moi International Airport Access Road and the Nairobi Southern Bypass.
The President said the focus of his administration for the next coming years is on the “Big Four” agenda.
He said the “Big Four” blueprint is critical to the realization of Sustainable Development Goals, to which Kenya is a signatory.
“My Administration will significantly increase the level of investments in “Big Four”, notably, food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare for all,” said the President said.
“To achieve the “Big Four” Agenda, the road infrastructure is a key catalyst. Additionally, increased infrastructure development will provide employment opportunities to host communities,” said the President.
The President said the Government is implementing the 10,000 Low Volume Sealed Roads Programme covering roads mainly in the rural areas.
“To-date an additional 6,300 kms of roads have been procured and are ongoing. A further 3,700 km of roads are under procurement,” said the President.
Deputy President William Ruto said there are many more roads that are under construction and more projects going on here in Mombasa.
The function was also addressed by Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and Governors Hassan Ali Joho (Mombasa) and Salim Mvurya (Kwale).