PUBLISHED ON February 3rd, 2015

Construction of key port road to be fast-tracked

Construction of a key by-pass linking the Mombasa port with the main highway to Nairobi has been put on an accelerated programme to avert a congestion crisis when a new container terminal becomes operational next year.

The 18-kilometre road meant to ease pressure on the busy Changamwe area was initially scheduled for completion in 2017 under a Japanese government- funded programme.

“We decided to take up the construction of this particular road link because the timelines under the Japanese government-funded Mombasa roads expansion project did not factor in the completion dates of the second container terminal,” Chris Kiptoo, Trade Mark East Africa (TMA) country director for Kenya, told the Business Daily on Monday.

Kenya is currently building a second container terminal valued at Sh28 billion in Mombasa to handle increased trade within the region driven by a boom in the construction industry, vast infrastructure development and an emerging middle class.

By 2016 the new terminal is projected to have a capacity of 450,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) and this is expected to rise to 1.2 million by 2019.

The government through the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has already called for bids for a concessionaire to run the first phase of the new container terminal.

“As per the initial plans the road link would have been completed long after the second container terminal is operational and this would have worsened and already bad situation in terms of traffic gridlock,” Dr Kiptoo said.

The by-pass will be constructed under the Mombasa Port Area Road Development Project (MPARD) that aims at curbing traffic congestion around the port, which is currently undergoing massive expansion.

The Japanese government awarded Kenya Sh29 billion for use in the MPARD mega-project in 2012.

Dr Kiptoo said TMA will spend a total of Sh1.8 billion ($20 million) in the construction of the key road link. The funding is by the UK government.

“The government of Kenya will chip in by clearing structures along the project path and help relocate populations on the route,” he said.

The route will pass south of the Moi International Airport and west of the Port Reitz harbour before turning south. The road will link Miritini on the mainland to Ng’ombeni in the south and include four bridges. It will also connect the Likoni-Diani highway.

The first phase of the project is set to kick off later this year focusing on the highway from Miritini, west of the Moi International Airport to Vumirirani, according to the master plan.

Two large bridges will be constructed including a 495m span over water at Mkupe and a 1,360m span at Dongo Kundu.

In the second phase, the government will focus on improving roads on the mainland, including a key six kilometre link from the new container terminal to the southern by-pass.

The government is planning to relocate the Kipevu Oil Storage Facility to pave way for construction of the second container terminal to handle larger ships.

Source: Business Daily

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