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Construction of the first phase of the Sh11 billion Dongo Kundu bypass is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The initial phase, which is part of the Mombasa Port Area Development Project, involves construction of a 10.1km dual carriageway from Miritini to Kipevu.

It also entails an interchange at Miritini and the entry to Kipevu, a rail-over-road bridge at Miritini, a weighbridge on the Kipevu link road and a 1.3km access road to Moi International Airport.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told the Sunday Nation that the project was 45 per cent done. When completed, he said, the road would ease traffic congestion between Miritini and the Port of Mombasa.

“The Dongo Kundu phase one project will decongest the port to ensure smooth flow of traffic from Kipevu to Miritini,” he said.

“It will also ease transportation of cargo from the port to the hinterland and to neighbouring countries like Uganda and Rwanda,” said Mr Macharia.

Speed up transport Funded by the Japanese government through the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA), the road is being constructed by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

It will also tackle traffic congestion in sections of the Mombasa-Nairobi highway between Miritini and Changamwe and speed up transportation of goods and passengers.

In the interview at Moi International Airport, Mombasa, Mr Macharia said he was impressed by the progress made. He said construction of the second phase would begin in June this year at a cost of Sh12 billion.

The project involves construction of 8.96km of road between Mwache and Dongo Kundu and the setting up of Mwache and Mteza bridges.

“We are negotiating with the Japanese government on funding of the second phase,” he said.

The Cabinet Secretary added that the third and final phase entails construction of a 6.86km road from Dongo Kundu to Kibundani.

It will have an interchange at the junction of Kibundani and LikoniUkunda-Lunga Lunga highway.

“When the entire project is complete, it will decongest Mombasa Island and ease pressure on ferries at the Likoni channel,” he said.

Transport corridor The bypass would also boost tourism on the South Coast as visitors coming from Moi airport would be ferried to Diani without passing through the island.

“The road is also a transport corridor for traffic to and from Tanzania, and parts of Kwale County,” he said, adding that it would play a key role in the establishment of a Special Economic Zone. The zone will comprise wholesale and retail trading, re-packaging logistics, warehousing and handling and storage of goods.

Six-lane highway The Cabinet Secretary said the government was also negotiating with the African Development Bank and the European Union on financing of a super-highway between Mombasa Island and Miritini.

The highway, he added, would have six lanes to easy traffic congestion between the island and Mombasa mainland.

“Designs for the superhighway have been done and the government has identified a contractor for the project,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Moi International Airport-Port Reitz road is set to be complete between May and July this year.

“It will boost tourism in Mombasa and the North Coast as it will take a short time for holidaymakers to get to hotels in Bamburi and Shanzu,” said the cabinet secretary.

The road projects in Mombasa and the five other counties at the coast will cost about Sh100 billion.

Daily Nation