Kenya secures 29 billion KShs loan from Japan for Dongo Kundu bypass to the South Coast

KENYA SECURES 29 BILLION LOAN FOR CONSTRUCTION OF SOUTH COAST BYPASS HIGHWAY
Coincidentally did the news of the financing of the long overdue South Coast bypass highway break as this correspondent was a the coast, putting smiles on the faces of key stakeholders. Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association Chairman Mohammed Hersi in a long discussion on many issues concerning the tourism industry at the coast said that the new bypass, finally offering a straight road alternative to the often unreliable Likoni ferries, is in his opinion crucial to future tourism developments at the Kenya coast, as it will open up vast stretches of the coast line south of Mombasa island, which traders and tourists alike can then visit, on business and on leisure with much greater ease compared to the present torment they experience when crossing the ferry.
Veteran hotelier Chris Modigell, while generally enthusiastic over the medium term impact the road would have on tourism developments on this part of the coast, was more reserved as to financing and construction start, leave alone construction end, which were different things altogether, while also pointing out that unfettered access could see the downsides of development and progress take over.
The driver who brought me to Diani however was elated, saying that tourists could be transferred directly to Ukunda and Diani when the new road was ready, taking a lot of congestion out of Mombasa itself and leaving the ferry to commuters. The Dongo Kundu bypass as it is locally known, will be co-financed with a long term soft loan from Japan worth 29 billion Kenya Shillings, will be some 26 kilometres long and link the Nairobi Mombasa highway as well as the international airport with the hitherto poorly linked and less developed stretch of coast between Mombasa and the border with Tanzania. Starting point will be Miritini, where the new highway will branch off the main route coming from Nairobi to the coast, and then pass Mwache, Dongo Kundu after which it is being named and Kibundani, before joining the present main road which runs from Likoni to Ukunda and via Msambweni to the Lunga Lunga border post with neighbouring Tanzania.
Construction start could happen as early as December this year, subject to preparing for, inviting and evaluating tenders and construction period, due to having cross swamps and wetlands, may take up to 2018, in other words nearly 6 years.
That said however, after waiting for this to happen for the past decades, there is general relief that the project financing with the assistance of Japan has now taken a giant leap forward and that there is a distant light at the end of what used to be a very dark tunnel. Watch this space.

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