Second bridge promises to solve Mombasa transport nightmare

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BY James Muliro

Transportation between the mainland and the port in Mombasa will ease following plans to construct a second multi-billion bridge to complement the current one that has been in place for 35 years. A feasibility study on the design and construction is currently being undertaken by Deloitte East Africa.

According to the head of infrastructure and capital projects at Deloitte, Mark Smith, the construction process is to start in 2016 and will take at most three years to complete. The bridge is expected to ease the horrendous traffic congestion currently experienced in the coastal city. The current bridge, which serves the mainland and the port of Mombasa, was constructed in 1980 when the population was just about 200,000 people. 

Deloitte, which was picked as the lead transaction adviser for the first public private partnership (PPP) in Kenya, is currently undertaking feasibility studies ahead of the selection of the contractor, who will build the bridge, whose cost is currently estimated at over Sh9 billion. The feasibility study for the bridge will cover the location, its size and cost. 

“We are at the very early stages now to help determine in a very detailed fashion the feasibility for constructing and also operating this bridge in Mombasa,” Smith says, adding that the process will take about a year and a half after which the firm will approach both local and international investors for prospective financing.

“We are hoping that in mid-2016 or sometimes towards the end of the year, we will have some ground breaking at the site chosen for the bridge,” Smith adds. Analysts expect the new bridge to ease congestion in the coastal city and bolster economic growth in the entire East African region. Over 90 per cent of Kenya’s international trade is conveyed through the Port of Mombasa and the need for a second bridge is urgent as part of the process of increasing efficiency in transportation in the region. Countries like Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi and Eastern Congo rely on Mombasa to facilitate transportation of goods inside and outside their respective territories. 

The significance of the port of Mombasa has grown over the last three decades and so has its population to more than one million residents. This figure is expected to double by 2025, putting immense pressure on the current bridge whose limit is already overstretched.  

“There is an absolute need for another bridge. It will not only help to ease traffic but also help promote economic growth along the coast,” Smith notes. 

 

Deloitte East Africa will undertake the public private partnership (PPP) jointly with Deloitte Touché Tohmatsu India. The two entities are to conduct a feasibility study, due diligence and transaction planning for the first PPP deal on a bridge as announced by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA). Other infrastructure project the financial advisory firm is looking to engage itself in include the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor project, and a commuter commuter rail service.

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