cable cars likoni

Cable cars will connect Mombasa Island with the South Coast, and replace ferry and floating bridge operations.


Hope at last for Likoni cable car project

What you need to know:

  • National Land Commission on Friday reserved 0.85 acres for the Mombasa Gate Bridge project.
  • Transport CS James Macharia hails project as the best for Coast people under President Kenyatta.

The Sh85 billion Likoni Cable Car dream is now closer to reality after it was allocated land, a requirement that has been a major obstacle. 

The National Land Commission (NLC) on Friday reserved 0.85 acres for the project that is expected to be a game changer in Coast tourism and transport sectors. 

It will connect Mombasa Island with the South Coast, and replace ferry and floating bridge operations.

In a gazette notice dated November 5, NLC chairman Gershom Otachi ordered the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to make use of the land within 180 days lest it is reverted to the owners.

“The management body shall within 180 days of publishing of this reservation order cause to be prepared and submit to NLC for approval a plan for the development management and use of the reserved land failure to which the management orders will stand revoked,” read the gazette notice in part.

In the directive, KPA shall only be allowed to hold use of the reserve land for the specified purposes of the Likoni Cable Car and ancillary services only.

Likoni channel

Ferries cross the Likoni channel on June 3, 2019.The arrival of cable cars on the channel is expected to boost transport.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

NLC said KPA shall not part with the possession of the reserved land or any part thereof without the written consent of the NLC.

Replace ferry operation

The ports agency is required to pay rates, ground rent, duties, assessment or outgoings to the national and county government from time to time.

According NLC, Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) shall be responsible for the development and management of the road except where it is agreed in writing.

The bridge structure will start on Lumumba Road near King’orani Prison and will rise to cross over the Mombasa Railway Station, then overhead Moi Avenue to the west of Canon Towers. 

The bridge will then crisscross Archbishop Makarios Road to Ganjoni, turn right overhead Liwatoni and crosses Likoni Channel to enter Likoni side at the runs of the abandoned Sultan of Zanzibar Place near Puma Primary school.

The proposed bridge will then proceed along the eastern shoreline of Mweza creek and start descending ultimately touching down near the Javi la Wageni Primary School.

From here, it will proceed as a four-lane highway to cross Mtongwe Riad at the Post Office then join the Mombasa Southern Bypass at Ziwani on the boundary with Kwale County.

Construction of the bridge will displace a total of 1,201 housing structures, of which 76.8 percent are accounted for by Likoni and Shika Adabu Locations of Mainland South.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia yesterday said the Sh85 billion project, which will connect Mombasa Island with the South Coast, will replace the ferry operation, which first began operation in 1937.

Best infrastructure project

According to the CS, it will be the best infrastructure project Coast people will remember President Uhuru Kenyatta for.

“We have secure funds for the Sh85 billion and the project is expected to be completed in 2024,” said Mr Macharia.

The cable-stayed and powered bridge will carry four traffic lanes and will be 69-metre high at mid-point, leaving sufficient space for ships to pass underneath so as to access the busy Kilindini area of the port.

Once the Mombasa Gate Bridge is complete, the current Likoni Floating Bridge, which connects Liwatoni in Mombasa Island to Ras Bofu in Likoni mainland, will be dismantled in 2025.

Last year, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani and the Japanese ambassador to Kenya, Ryoichi Horie, signed a loan agreement, paving the way for the construction of the bridge to begin in 2021 but it was delayed as a result of Covid-19.

The concessionary loan is payable in 28 years with a grace period of 12 years.

According to Joseph Straus, an American structural engineer, the bridge will also significantly complement the Dongo Kundu road bypass, which is almost complete and is expected to boost trade and tourism on the South Coast.