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$31m for Kenya coastal road linkMonday, January 11, 2016 > 10:12:18
President Uhuru Kenyatta over the weekend commissioned the construction of Port Reitz / Moi International Airport Access Road.
Port Reitz road provides the only access to the Moi International Airport and links the Seconnd container terminal at the Port of Mombasa to the Northern Corridor and the rest of East and Central Africa.
The road is jointly financed by UK’s Department of International Development (DFID) through TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) with a grant of $20 million and the Government of Kenya financing the remaining $11 million.
Once completed, the new road will reduce traffic congestion at the Port Reitz area, a major artery in the movement of cargo to and from Mombasa port as well as in the larger Mombasa town and its environs. Traffic congestion at the area has been identified as one of the key non-tariff trade barriers affecting businesses in the East Africa region.
The $31 million investment - implemented by the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) - will support the expansion of the road to a dual carriageway and improve the existing Port Reitz and Moi International Airport access roads covering 6.4km in length.
It will also improve traffic movement at intersections, including the installation of traffic lights and grade separated junctions.
This will also entail: providing Mombasa County with its first two grade separated interchange traffic intersections, installation of road drainage facilities and sidewalks along Port Reitz road and Moi Airport access roads. Construction includes providing immediate access to and from the new Kipevu West Container Terminal. Access to the new terminal will decongest the existing container berths at the Mombasa port which are currently operating at near full capacity.
Speaking during the event, Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure James Macharia said; “The improvement of these important links to both the Airport and to the Port will greatly improve traffic flow in Mombasa and the entire transport corridor. Specifically, the link will serve as a key catalyst to improving the cargo handling capacity of the port of Mombasa, in order to adequately serve Kenya’s growing economy, as well as retaining the Port of Mombasa as the preferred Port of use by the neighbouring economies. This will in turn ensure economic prosperity for both Kenya and the region.”
TMEA CEO Frank Matsaert expressed optimism and the organisation intention to supporting similar projects with KeNHA saying; “The much awaited upgrade of the Port Reitz Road is a crucial milestone in increasing access to physical markets and the facilitation of the movement of cargo along the Northern Corridor. When initially deploying $20 million in the project, greater access, increased efficiency and improved infrastructure were just a few of our end goals. Ultimately, we want to reduce the cost of doing business and boost trade volumes, increasing the region’s overall trade competitiveness.”
The United Kingdom High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey remarked “The UK is proud to support the Mombasa Port modernisation project. It will reduce the cost of doing business, improve infrastructure, and boost trade and economic growth in the EAC. This is a critical road. Our support, in partnership with and fitting with the overall vision of the Kenyan government, will benefit the population of Mombasa and reduce the cost of goods to millions of EAC residents.”
KeNHA Director General Eng. Peter Mundinia pointed out that “We were tasked together with other government agencies that have a stake in cargo movement to come up with initiatives to decongest and improve efficiency at the port.
This Port Reitz Road is a crucial link that will provide the necessary connection to the newly constructed second container terminal. We shall construct another link through the ongoing Dongo Kundu bypass project.”
An improved Port Reitz Road will reduce truck operating costs along the transport route, to and from Kipevu West Container Terminal. It will also decrease the time it takes to enter and exit the port gates by facilitating access through the recently completed Kipevu West container terminal.
The new access points into and out of the Port of Mombasa are poised to also accommodate approximately 30% of the traffic from the existing terminal. Currently, the present gate arrangements (at other gates) have a turnaround time of 4 hours for trucks carrying containers.
It is expected that this will be brought down to two hours through increased gate lanes, fully automated gate processes and streamlined controls and procedures for entry and exits.
TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) is a not-for-profit organisation funded by a range of development agencies with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through trade. TMEA works closely with East African Community (EAC) institutions, national governments, the private sector and civil society organisations.
TMEA has regional offices in all the EAC capital cities.