Kenya Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau came under criticism when visiting Mombasa earlier this week over the ongoing delays to start the bypass road from the mainland to the South coast in earnest. This is a key demand from tourism stakeholders and investors as well as local businesses and communities.
The bypass would help avoid the journey through the city of Mombasa and the subsequent crossing of the Likoni channel by ferry for tourist visitors, and facilitate a direct road link, cutting at least an hour and a half off the present transfer times from the main South coast hotels in Diani and beyond to the Moi International Airport. The move would also address the British FCO anti-travel advisory which has declared the city of Mombasa literally a no-go area while not advising against travel to the beach resorts along Diani.
Kamau tried to appease political and business leaders by announcing that funds have been secured to finally create a dual-carriage road from the airport to Mombasa’s industrial and manufacturing hub of Changamwe, where the main highway from Nairobi reaches the outskirts of the port city. He also confirmed that tenders have been published for the first part of the bypass highway dubbed the “Dongo Kundu Project.”
One regular commenter from the coast was quick, however, to add: “The new dual carriage road in and out of the airport will help to ease congestion and traffic jams. But the bypass to the South coast is long overdue and has been pushed by every government to the next year which never came. We also need a second bridge from the island to the northern mainland, because the current Nyali bridge is also overcrowded. Fact is that the coast never got the attention it deserved and the lack of good infrastructure is part of why tourism is now suffering.
“The entire stretch from the Nyali bridge to Shanzu, the Mtwapa creek and to Kilifi, maybe even Malindi, should be dual carriage because traffic has grown, and the road network has not. Long transfer times for tourists from the airport to their hotels are the norm today mostly because vehicles are stuck in traffic. That has to change before we even think of building a new convention center in Bamburi, because if the road network is poor, how will guests even get there?”