Government comes to the rescue of Mombasa residents with a Sh5.5 billion project

Ferry breakdowns and traffic jams will be a thing of the past following...

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Residents of Mombasa have for long had to contend with frequent ferry breakdowns at the Likoni Channel.

Its only a few days ago when the MV Nyayo and MV Harambee vessels, that had technical faults, disrupted services at the channel leading to a massive traffic snarl-up and hundreds of people stranded.

But the latest government development may see less of such incidents occurring.

This is after it unveiled plans to construct a Sh5.5 billion cable car project at the Likoni crossing linking Mombasa Island and the mainland.

The project is set to kick off in December and will among other things ease traffic jam, boost tourism and address the regular ferry breakdowns on the Likoni Channel.

Kenya Ferry service (KFS) managing director Bakari Gowa said that construction should begin immediately after it is approved by the relevant unit.

“About the cable cars it is indeed a reality. We expect final approval for the same to be done next week by the relevant unit and thereafter we shall proceed to ground breaking.”

He also added that congestion will be a thing of the past once construction is completed in 18-months’ time.

The cable cars, running on a 500-metre wire, will move 20 per cent of the over 80,000 ferry users per day.

“We will have 32 cabins and each can take a maximum of 28 passengers full capacity which will translate to 5, 000 people per hour,” noted the KFS managing director.

It is expected that the Likoni Express Cable car will take two and a half minutes to cross the 500-metre stretch.

At the moment, ferries currently take about 10 minutes to move passengers across the channel but frequent breakdowns have proved challenging leading to delays of close to 40 minutes.

The tourism industry has faced challenges due to traffic at the Likoni Channel with tourists arriving at the Coast having to endure long hours of wait for space in the ferries to cross to their destinations.

On its completion, passengers will be required to pay Sh20 per trip in off-peak hours and Sh50 during peak hours.

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