“Will I be able to cross and get back” asked Moses who was visibly excited by his arrival at Liwatoni.
A tuk-tuk had just dropped him. “You can cross. I will be waiting for you here,” the tuk-tuk driver joyfully told his passenger as he alighted.
Here is where the new Likoni floating bridge starts. Moses, a resident of Nairobi who visited Mombasa for his holidays, had to make sure that his last holiday on the coast ended in style.
Nothing would make it more memorable than crossing the Likoni channel, not on the faulty ferries, but on a bridge.
The pedestrian bridge was officially opened to the public on January 1 by the government as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta last month when he officially commissioned the project.
Likoni residents could not hide their joy when they officially started using the bridge, which was constructed at a cost of Sh1.9 billion.
This reporter took a walk across the bridge and took him approximately 10 minutes to cross from Ras Bofu on the Likoni side to Liwatoni on the Mombasa Island side.
Unlike using the ferries, residents who spoke to the Nation said, the bridge is an easier way to connect to Mombasa town centre.
“We are really thankful. Personally I would have used almost an hour before I crossed using the ferries, but here I have just spent only a few minutes to cross. I am just happy,” said Joseph Shizama, a resident.
I have been waiting for this day.
Caroline, a Nairobi resident, used the bridge just to get the feeling of using it.
“I have been waiting for this day. I am a visitor. Tomorrow I am going back to Nairobi. I now feel happy I have used the bridge. I am proud of Mombasa,” she said.
At the bridge, children enjoyed their walk as they crossed from one point to the other.
Coast region security officials led by regional commissioner John Elungata and the region’s police chief Gabriel Musau were also notably present at the bridge as they oversaw residents starting to use the bridge.
Meanwhile, on the Likoni side, workers could be seen working on the walking path, which is immediately after the bridge.
The construction workers were putting slabs on the walkway, which will allow residents to easily access the bridge.
The bridge is 1.2km long and its main work involved establishment of pile foundations and a bailey-type bridge (a type of portable, pre-fabricated, bridge).
A pile foundation is formed by long, slender, columnar elements, typically made from steel or reinforced concrete. A foundation is described as “piled” when its depth is more than three times its breadth.
The upper section comprises lattice steel designed from prefabricated parts with a movable main steel structure.
The bridge will be demobilised at least an hour before to allow ships to pass.
Mr Elungata said there would be communication to commuters on the closing and opening times.
“We will put the announcement at the entrance on both sides, that will allow the pedestrians to know when to cross. We will ensure that it is utilized well during peak hours,” he said when the bridge was opened for testing on Christmas Day,
Shipping lines agents will also be receiving communication on the same to allow smooth operations of ships that are entering and leaving the Mombasa port, said Rashid Salim, the acting managing director of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
KPA and Kenya National Highways Authority are in charge of the project.
KPA is the main operator of the bridge.