Mombasa County Commissioner Lucas Mwanza has urged area residents to make good use of the Liwatoni footbridge that links the island to the mainland south as a way of offloading human congestion to the ferry users during morning and evening peak hours.
Mwanza said the Sh1.9 billion bridge that was constructed by the national government to ease congestion at the busy Likoni ferry channel is safer and more convenient for the pedestrians.
“The objective of the bridge is to ease pressure of the overcrowded Likoni ferries during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mwanza.
The County Commissioner was speaking when he led the county security team and officials of Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) on the tour of the Likoni ferry and Liwatoni footbridge.
The tour follows the stampede at the ferry that took place last week on Wednesday evening where several people were injured and rushed to various hospitals.
According to Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) Managing Director Bakari Gowa, the recent stampede was caused by inpatient pedestrians at the waiting bay who disregarded security protocols and forced their way to board the ferries.
“It is imperative to enhance security at the both sides of the channel to avoid such incidents,” said Gowa.
Mwanza said the government will increase security involving multi-agency team led by a police commander to ensure the safety of the pedestrians and to keep away idlers and criminals.
He said at the moment approximately 216,000 people are using the footbridge on a daily basis and that they intend to increase the figure to 300,000 in order to reduce human congestion at the Likoni channel.
KeNHA Deputy Regional Director (Coast) Howard M’mayi assured area residents that necessary safety measures have been put in place on the first pedestrian footbridge to be built in the country as part of the measures to combat covid-19 pandemic.
“The bridge was constructed to end the perennial human congestion at the vital busy Likoni crossing channel and also to manage social distancing at the peak of the pandemic,” said M’mayi.
He added the footbridge will complement the existing ferry services to streamline safe passageways’ for pedestrians and reduce overcrowding that characterize the busy channel.
“We have created specific hours for the usage of the bridge by locals and visitors during peak hours to ease their movement,” said the official.
[KeNHA officials led by Mombasa County Commissioner Lucas Mwanza during inspection tour of the Liwatoni bridge. Photo/Ahmed Omar/February, 17, 2022].
He said the bridge is open for pedestrians between 6am to 8am and from 4pm to 8pm.
M’mayi added that KeNHA will expand the road at Peleleza, on the southern side to improve movement of public vehicles used by pedestrians to access the bridge.
The bridge is a composite structure designed for pedestrians only whose deck comprises of a 529 m long floating section, and 54 m long approaches on either side of the floating span.