Kenya: Mombasa Airport, SGR Come Under Threat As Mother Nature Has Her Way

30 October 2020

Natural causes are posing a threat to three major infrastructural projects in Mombasa County, putting lives at risk.

The Parliamentary Transport Committee has expressed worry over the landslide and cracks that have resulted in the damage of a section of the Dongo Kundu Bypass and the secondary runway at the Moi International Airport.

While addressing the press at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa, the Committee Chairperson, Mr David Pkosing, said that the two major infrastructure projects are under threat and that, if nothing is urgently done, the Moi Airport runway will be unviable.

"There was a serious landslide that completely closed one side of the Dongo Kundu Bypass road. This is a unique problem. The airport is also threatened; the secondary runway is endangered," he said.

"In another five years, we might lose 25 percent of the Moi Airport runway, making it unviable. Something must be done urgently. We must allow water to go to the sea. We can't oppose nature. Anything short of this, we will lose the airport."

The chairman, who was on an assessment and oversight tour of the various ongoing projects in the Coast region, noted that the entire southern and western parts of the airport are seriously endangered despite the work being done on the northern side of the airport.

The bypass sits at the end of the runway and the water collected in the entire airport area sips into the ground as it makes its way to the Indian Ocean.

Mr Pkosing said that the natural flow of the water into the ocean seems to have been blocked and urged key stakeholders, including the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), Kenya Railways, and the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), to urgently salvage the situation.

"We have appealed to KeNHA, Kenya Railways and KAA to meet for multi-sectoral thinking to secure the airport runway, the Dongo Kundu bypass and the SGR. We have asked our engineers to study the water drainage system and see whether we can have piping to drain the water directly into the ocean," he said.

In July, KeNHA closed a section of the Mombasa Southern bypass for two days, after a section of the new road infrastructure touching on Moi International Airport developed cracks.

The Miritini- Mwache-Kipevu road was closed to allow for necessary monitoring and re-engineering interventions as the authority blamed the cracks on "a geological phenomenon" over a wide cross-section.

Traffic is diverted to one lane

"A limited section of the cut slope along the said road and adjacent to the Moi International Airport fenceline has been observed to exhibit movement as a result of previous moisture ingress and unfavourable subsurface conditions," read the statement from KeNHA Director-General Peter Mundinia.

A spot check by the Nation revealed that the section was still closed as traffic is diverted to one lane.

Mr Pkosing said they are looking at the possibility of raising the Dongo Kundu part of the road almost to the level of the SGR.

This comes as the KAA Managing Director, Mr Alex Gitari, says rehabilitation of airside pavements and airfield ground lighting system at Moi International Airport is at 75 percent and that the project will be complete by March 2021.

The committee said a lot of work was going on in Mombasa County as far as infrastructure is concerned.

The chairman called on the residents to be patient despite the inconveniences.

"I want to ask the residents of Mombasa to be patient as the work goes on. There will be a number of inconveniences. You will have to bear with the government projects. In the next three years, the geographical picture of Mombasa will be very different," he said.

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