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The Thika superhighway is nearing completion/FILE

Kenya

Likoni ferry bypass now becoming a reality

The Thika superhighway is nearing completion/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 22 – The Kenyan government is yet again expected to embark on another major infrastructure project after the Thika superhighway, after receiving Sh28.9 billion from Japan for the construction of the Mombasa Port area road project, also known as the Dongo Kundu bypass.

The construction of the bypass is aimed at decongesting the city of Mombasa, by providing an alternative to the Likoni ferry crossing by linking the mainland with the South Coast.

Once completed, the project will also facilitate access, mobility and transportation of goods and passengers from the South Coast to other parts of the country as well as neighbouring countries.

Signing the loan agreement, Finance Minister Njeru Githae said the bypass will further complement the ongoing expansion of the Mombasa Port and contribute to higher economic development in the coastal region and the country as a whole.

“This project, Dongo Kundu, is even bigger than the Nairobi Thika superhighway, which was at cost of Sh28 billion. This is Sh29 billion. So, that talk of MRC that they are neglected is pure propaganda. The Japanese government has helped us to construct Nyali Bridge… very expensive, Mtwapa Bridge, Kilifi Bridge and Sabaki Bridge. With the exception of Lamu Port, this will be the biggest project undertaken by government,” said Githae.

Roads Minister Franklin Bett said the government does not have land in the area but will have to negotiate with the owners and compensate them.

He says he has already instructed the Kenya National Highway Authorities to start land procurement on the corridor.

“The process is now going to start and I request all the land owners to cooperate with us. Because the ultimate thing we want is a road to make things easy for us, for social economic development. So I want to urge them, to provide that support and to participate fully, “said Bett.

Bett also urged for the construction to start in early 2014 rather than in 2015, by shortening the time given for the tendering process and consultation.

Since the beginning of bilateral cooperation between Kenya and Japan, Kenya has received cumulative financial support of Sh418.94 billion.

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“We agreed with the government of Kenya that it was crucial to construct a link road that connects the new container terminal of the Mombasa port, with a Northern corridor. We also agreed that a link road was necessary to; connect Dongo Kundu area to enables south coast of Mombasa, to develop, “said Japanese Ambassador to Kenya during the signing ceremony.

The Dongo Kundu project has been in the pipeline for decades.

Meanwhile the Roads Minister announced plans to revive the Nairobi Eastern bypass project which collapsed last year.

Currently permanent secretaries from his ministry and the Finance Ministry are in Washington in the United States, negotiating with the World Bank to provide funding for the project. The whole project is expected to cost $400million (Sh34bilion) with the government contributing $100 million (Sh8.5billion) and the World Bank $300 million (Sh25.5billion).

“On the completion of Nairobi Thika highway, I expect a deluge of traffic towards Uhuru highway. And if we do not move fast, you will have Uhuru highway to be kind of a parking lot, “added Bett.

The 30km eastern bypass starts at City Cabanas, passes through Ruai and ends at Ruiru.

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