Mombasa County residents are grappling with traffic snarl-ups at the Makupa Causeway as the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) creates a diversion to pave the way for the construction of a 457-metre bridge.
The causeway will be demolished once the Sh4.5 billion bridge is completed.
Kenha Coast region deputy director Howard M’mayi said the agency plans to carry out a trial before the official closure of the inbound lane.
“We met with other stakeholders from the traffic police and the Kenya Railways and deliberated and inspected the section. We’ve proposed some improvements including pedestrian walkways, street lighting, and a review of the outbound traffic re-channelisation,” he said.
“We’ve also sought assistance from railways personnel to coordinate train passage. The operation will be under observation for the next one week.”
Project resident engineer Stephen Gichuru said Kenha is laying the foundation for the bridge.
“We are making good progress on the foundation work. We are piling since the bridge is founded on piles. We are supposed to do 126 piles but we have so far done 70,” Mr Gichuru said.
He noted that the foundation work is more than 50 per cent complete. “When we are through with the foundation works, the work is as good as complete. We are laying platforms on the water to help in digging the remainder of the piles. Once this is done we will be way ahead,” he added.
Kenha has erected two barriers at both ends of the railway line for safety, to help coordinate the movement of vehicles.
“Whenever the train comes, we will have to close the road to give priority to the train. We have communication gadgets and a schedule on when the train will be passing to coordinate and co-exist to ensure a seamless flow of both trains and motor vehicles,” Mr Gichuru told Nation.Africa.
The project was launched in December 2020 by President Uhuru Kenyatta and the construction is expected to take 12 months.
The new bridge, consisting of two parallel structures, will provide a link between Mombasa Island and the mainland. China Communications Construction Company is building it.
The bridge will be made from reinforced concrete, Mr Gichuru said, with foundation piles of up to 40-metres deep. It will have a width of 20 metres for each side of the bridge, and an additional two-metre rail for non-motorised traffic and a pedestrian pathway.