The Kenyan government has secured a Sh29 billion loan from Japan for the construction of the proposed Dongo Kundu bypass in Mombasa.
The 25.7-km bypass, which has been in the pipeline for decades, is aimed at de-congesting Mombasa by providing an alternative to the Likoni ferry by linking the mainland with the south coast.
Signing the loan agreement, Finance Minister Njeru Githae said the Sh29 billion bypass will complement the ongoing expansion of the Mombasa Port while de-congesting the Mombasa city centre.
“Dongo Kundu is a high-priority project whose completion will facilitate easy access, mobility and transportation of goods and passengers. It is even bigger than Thika Road which was build at a cost of Sh28 billion,” said Mr Githae.
The loan will be repaid for a period of 30 years at an interest rate of 1.2 per cent, after a grace period of ten years.
Japan’s ambassador to Kenya Toshihisa Takata said they had agreed with the Kenyan government that it was important to build a road that connects the new container terminal with the mainland.
“Expanding Mombasa port alone will not be enough to realise its full potential. We must also deal with the issue of congestion on the roads,” Mr Takata said.
Roads minister Franklin Bett said although the bypass would be shorter than the 45-km Thika superhighway, it would cost more because most of the road will pass through a waterlogged area.
The minister said the government does not have land in the area and will have to negotiate with land owners and compensate them.
“I urge land owners to cooperate with us. The ultimate thing we want is a road that will promote social economic development,” said Mr Bett.
The bypass road, which is scheduled to begin in December for completion by August 2018, is the second largest government project after the LAPSSET which is estimated to cost Sh1.5 trillion.
It will start from Miritini through Mwache, Tsunza, Dongo Kundu and Kibundani.