Ambitious urban road projects transforming Mombasa
Massive investments by the national government on the improvement of urban road network in Mombasa is dramatically transforming the face of the coastal city.
To many, this is a positive move towards restoring the past glory of this tourist resort city that is endowed with beautiful sandy beaches and rich culture.
The Transport and Infrastructure Development Cabinet Secretary (CS), Dr. James Macharia acknowledged that roads in Mombasa and its environs before the current upgrades were in ‘a big mess’.
Dr. Macharia says most roads were narrow and in pathetic conditions bringing parts of the city to a standstill during peak hours and causing long delays for motorists going into and leaving the Moi International Airport and the Mombasa Port.
“Tourists heading to beach hotels can now reach their destinations without inordinate delays on the roads’ he said in Mombasa during a port stakeholder’s forum.
He added ‘somebody who was in Mombasa afew years back will today marvel at the mega road infrastructure sprouting up across the coastal city”.
The construction and upgrading of mega roads that are on the verge of completion is set to transform Mombasa into an attractive destination for investment and tourism.
Mombasa has long been grappling with dilapidated road networks, poor drainage system and lack of proper solid waste management system.
The government’s huge investment in road upgrades is tipped to boost economic activities in the region.
The Mombasa-Miritini Road, Airport and Port Reitz roads have been expanded into dual carriageways at a cost of Sh.23 billion.
These roads links the port of Mombasa to the Mombasa-Nairobi Highway at Miritini and are expected to ease movement of cargo from the port.
The Dongo-Kundu bypass which connect Mombasa to the South Coast and funded through a loan of Sh.25 billion from the Japan International Agency (JICA) is another mega project implemented by the government in coast region.
The government has for the first time since independence committed resources of such magnitude for the infrastructural improvement in the coastal city.
Those interviewed by Kenya News Agency on Thursday said the expansion and improvement of the road network was a boon for the town and that this will transform the economic fortunes of the area.
They are of the opinion that the availability of the good road network and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line will make the county an ideal place for investment and tourism.
The Chairman of Kenya Ferry Services (KFS), Ramadhan Kajembe said the Dongo-Kundu bypass once completed will help to decongest the busy Likoni crossing channel.
Kajembe said the 17.5 km by-pass was a dream come true, adding that it will enhance economic activities for both Mombasa and Kwale Counties.
It is estimated that over 400,000 passengers and 6,000 vehicles use ferry services on a daily basis.
Local residents, hoteliers and travel agents have persistently complained over poor ferry services owing to frequent breakdowns.
Tourists from the hotels in South Coast have been forced to reschedule or miss their flights due to perennial delays at the ferry.
The Sh.6 billion Port Reitz-Moi International Airport Access Road is expected to ease the chronic traffic congestion along the busy road that has for long inconvenienced both local and international travelers.
The project which is being implemented by the Kenya National Highways Authority (KenNHA) and overseen by Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) is jointly funded by the United Kingdom and Kenya governments.
The expansion of this road will go a long way in addressing frequent traffic snarl ups which has become a common feature along the stretch.
A prominent Mombasa businessman, Mustafa Mohamed welcomed the construction and upgrading of roads in the county. saying this would greatly boost business and other economic activities in the whole of East Africa region.
“The construction of the roads will definitely ease the flow of vehicular traffic’ said the businessman who has interests in the transport and logistics sector.
Mohamed said the ongoing infrastructural transformation was in line with the government Big Four agenda aimed at achieving economic growth and raise the living standards of Kenyans.
The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director, Catherine Mturi-Wairi lauded the expansion and improvement of transport system.
Ms Wairi said the ongoing major improvements on road and railway networks in the country will increase business at the port and that Kenya and the entire region stand to benefit from increased trade.
Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) is also currently upgrading Old Malindi and Jomvu Kuu/Jitoni/Rabai roads in Mombasa at a cost of Sh.1.8 billion under the low volume seal program.
By Mohamed Hassan