Kenyans take first walk on new 824-metre-long floating bridge
London, Dec. 26, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Kenyan’s new floating bridge has been opened to the general public. Residents of Likoni, the site of the 824-metre-long bridge celebrate Christmas in style as they cross floating bridge
The residents used the Sh1.9 billion bridge to walk to and from Mombasa Island to meet their relatives and friends to celebrate Christmas day in style.
The bridge will reduce congestion at the crossing channel, allowing Likoni residents to access the Mombasa Island and vice versa.
“This is the best feeling ever. I left home and simply walked across the bridge and after 10 minutes I was already in town. This project is the best thing that has ever happened to us,” said Ms Martha Atieno, a resident who crossed from Likoni to Mombasa town
Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata said the bridge was opened on Christmas day as a gift to the resident by the government.
“We felt that we should allow the residents to have a feeling of the bridge as a Christmas gift as promised by the President-Uhuru Kenyatta. We are glad that the residents are so happy,” said Mr Elungata who led the walk across the floating bridge
Mr Elungata said the opening of the bridge was to also give it a test on how it will be used while considering the Covid-19 protocols.
“We have seen that it is possible to follow all the regulations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. That was [one] main purpose for this bridge and we have seen that it is possible for the rules to be adhered to,” he said
Exited youths did not miss the opportunity to take photos on the bridge. The bridge has now been fixed with side rails for the safety of users.
Kiosk operator, Mary Waithera said that the new crossing was a relief to many Likoni residents who have had to contend with delays and inconveniences at the Likoni Ferry Crossing channel
“We are grateful to the government for this gift. We hope this bridge will ease the many problems linked to Likoni Ferry channel,” she said
Mr Elungata said works are still ongoing to ensure that all the safety measures are met before the bridge is officially opened on January 1.
“We have been having police officers and they will continue to be here throughout when the bridge is officially opened. There are also sections of the bridge where the gaps will be fixed for safety purposes,” he added.
The bridge is 1.2 kilometres long and stretches from Liwatoni on Mombasa Island to Ras Bofu (Peleleza) in Likoni.
The construction works involved establishment of pile foundations and a bailey type bridge (a type of portable, pre-fabricated truss bridge).
A pile foundation is formed by long, slender, columnar elements, typically made from steel or reinforced concrete. A foundation is described as ‘piled’ when its depth is more than three times its breadth.
The upper section comprises of lattice steel designed from prefabricated parts with a movable main steel structure.
The bridge will be demobilised at least an hour before ships arrive to allow them to enter or leav the Mombasa port.
Mr Elungata said once it starts official operations, there will be communication to commuters on the closing and opening time.