County Commissioner Nelson Marwa, who presided over the event, said the contractor – China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation – was preparing the site in readiness for work to commence.
“The contractor is mobilising equipment to construct the first 10 kilometres of the road from Miritini to Kipevu and provide a link between the Mombasa-Nairobi highway and the port,” Mr Marwa said.
He said the bypass, which was proposed 30 years ago, will de-congest Mombasa by providing an alternative to the Likoni ferry as it will link the mainland with the south coast.
The Dongo Kundu bypass project will be implemented in three phases. Phase one is Miritini to Kipevu Link Road, Mwache to Dongo Kundu, which includes construction of long span bridges over the creeks and Dongo Kundu to Kibundani to link with Likoni-Lunga Lunga Road.
Phase two includes construction of the Mwache-Dongo Kundu stretch, which includes construction of the Mwache Bridge, while phase three comprises the stretch from Dongo Kundu-Kibundani.
“This is what we are starting with as of now. It is to dual carriage way standards and is largely to serve the port – to evacuate or bring cargo to the port,” Kung’u Ndung’u, an engineer with the Kenya National Highways Authority, said.
In November last year, Kenya signed a Sh25 billion loan agreement with Jica to finance the construction of the Dongo Kundu bypass, which is expected to decongest the Likoni crossing channel.
The loan will be repaid in 30 years at an interest rate of 1.2 per cent, after a grace period of ten years.
The project is expected to facilitate the establishment of a free port facility at Dongo Kundu as well as opening up south coast for tourism and agriculture.