Multibillion-shilling road projects currently underway in Mombasa are set to change the face of the port city, boosting its prospects in transport and tourism.
Construction of the Makupa causeway -- for long a nightmare for motorists entering and exiting the island through the Moi International Airport and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) terminus -- is underway, with works now on the overpass at Changamwe.
Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) says the section from Digo Road to Kibarani is complete and open for use by the public.
"We're working on the Changamwe roundabout road-over-rail section at Bangladesh and the Mikindani section," KeNHA communications director Charles Njogu told the Nation.
At the same time, the first phase of the Dongo Kundu bypass connecting Mombasa and Kwale counties is complete, with the second and third phases of the Dongo Kundu-Kibundani highway ongoing. Once complete, it will comprise an interchange at Kibundani on the Likoni-Lunga Lunga highway and two bridges at Mteza (1.4km) and Mwache (660m).
Once fully operational, the bypass, which links to key installations such as the Moi International Airport and the SGR terminus in Miritini, will enable tourists to link to the South Coast without having to use the Likoni Channel. The Sh28 billion project will be completed in four years.
On the Northern part of the Coast, plans are underway to dual the Mombasa-Malindi highway, an East Africa Coastal Corridor project, which involves the building of a 454km highway from Malindi in Kilifi County to Bagamoyo in Tanzania.
Last December, the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved a Sh38.4 billion financing package for the project, a few months after the European Union had contributed a grant of Sh3.3 billion. The tender, which is in two phases, will include the dualling of the 13.5km Mombasa-Mtwapa highway.
The second lot involves the dualling of the 40.4km Mtwapa-Kwa Kadzengo-Kilifi section. The project will be implemented concurrently with the Mombasa Gate Bridge project, which received a Sh43.4 billion loan from Japan International Corporation Agency (Jica) in December last year.
KeNHA says the only thing holding the project back, after the funding, is procurement for the contractor, which is ongoing.
"We cannot commit on when the project will commence, but the processes are ongoing," Mr Njogu said.
In an earlier interview, Transport and infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told the Nation that the government was taking a multi-pronged approach with the projects as part of implementing the Mombasa Transport Master Plan to help reduce congestion in the city.
Among the other road projects taking shape are the Mombasa-Mariakani-Kwa Jomvu dual carriageway; the 600-metre Nyali Bridge, and the Mombasa Northern Bypass.
"We have already completed some of these roads and have seen traffic flow improvements. We hope the completion of the Dongo Kundu interlink will ease pressure on the ferry as we seek safer alternatives for the crossing," Mr. Macharia said.
In the last two years, the government has completed a number of road projects in Mombasa, easing traffic jam in the western side of the city. In 2018, the 10.8km southern bypass (Kipevu-Miritini-Mwache) was completed at a cost of Sh11 billion.