The Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) has begun construction of the new 457 metre long Makupa bridge, which will replace the historic Makupa causeway that links Mombasa Island to the mainland.
This even comes as the agency warns residents to expect delays on the section, as part of traffic will be diverted to the opposite lane, to accommodate construction of the bridge.
The construction of the bridge, which was commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta in December 2020, is expected to last one year, and will cost the taxpayer Sh4.5 billion.
In November last year, Kenha awarded China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) the contract for the construction of the two four-lane parallel bridges.
According to the resident engineer, Stephen Gichuru, the project has already started, after the ground-breaking that took place on yesterday.
The new bridge will have a width of 20 metres for each bridge, and an additional two-metre rail for non-motorized traffic and a pedestrian pathway.
Mr Gichuru said that the bridge will be made from reinforced concrete with foundation piles of up to 40-metres deep.
Kenha said it plans to divert traffic from the lower lane that leads motorists into the port city, to an alternative route to give sufficient space for the contractor.
Kenha Coast deputy director Howard M’mayi noted that they will have to move traffic to the outbound mainland and create an alternative route to ease traffic as works start.
The resident engineer, Mr Gichuru also added that there will be some disruptions as they come up with a workable solution for traffic in and out of the island.
“As we start the works, we will close the island-bound road for at least one year. We are going to close the lower inbound road to Mombasa. The disruption will start in about two to three weeks, throughout the entire construction period," Mr Gichuru told the nation.africa.
The new Makupa bridge will end aquatic life interference, a thing that has been a concern to marine experts.
“When complete in April next year, the four-lane bridge would pave the way for the demolition of Makupa causeway and restoration of the ecosystem in the area, including the free flow of water and marine life. This will see a continuous water flow, unlike currently, where it is stagnant on that section,” Mr Gichuru said.
The new bridge is also intended to accommodate the old railway line and Kenha is said to be in talks with the Kenya Railways on how to incorporate the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in the infrastructure as well.
“We do not expect any livelihoods interruptions or demolitions apart from moving the service lines,” Mr Gichuru said.