Plans in high gear for East African coast highway

Tuesday January 28 2020

KeNHA works on a road in the country. The Kenya-Tanzania highway is considered a major component of the region’s corridor network. FILE PHOTO | NMG


The Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) has started the process to construct part of the 460-kilometre East African Coastal Corridor development project.

Tenders were advertised for the two phases of the 13.5km Mombasa—Mtwapa (A7) section, which entails the construction of a four-lane dual carriageway.

The works include construction of a grade separated junction, service roads, storm water drains, major and minor drainage structures, access roads and social amenities along the road.

The project has already received funds from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and a grant from the European Union.

Last June, Gabriel Negatu, East Africa director general of AfDB said construction of the road would begin this year.

“Both the Kenya and Tanzania governments have finalised all their requirements to pave way for the construction of the coastal highway,” Mr Negatu said.


The Coastline Transnational Highway project, conceived more than two decades ago, covers Bagamoyo-Tanga-Horohoro on the Tanzania side and Lunga Lunga-Mombasa-Mtwapa-Malindi on the Kenyan side, and is expected to cost $751 million.

According to an agreement signed last November, AfDB will finance 70 per cent of the highway and the governments of Kenya and Tanzania will cover 30 per cent.

Last December, AfDB approved of the $384.22 million financing package for the road construction a few months after the EU gave a grant of $33.41 million or 7.7 per cent of the total project cost to the government of Kenya.

The road is a priority item in AfDB’s Eastern Africa Regional Integration Strategy and the Country Strategy Papers of both countries, and aligns with the bank’s priorities to integrate Africa and improve the quality of life for the people.

Boosting integration

The highway is considered a major component of the region’s transport corridor network, and is among the infrastructure projects being prioritised by the EAC to boost integration by reducing transit times for cross-border movement of people and goods.

The new highway will be served by the already existing Lunga-Lunga/Horo Horo one-stop border post, and when complete will open up access to tourist attractions along the eastern coast of the region, linking the ports of Lamu, Mombasa and Dar es Salaam. A highway connecting Lamu port and Malindi is 70 per cent complete.

The project also includes construction of markets for displaced roadside traders along the highway. KeNHA is seeking consultancy services for the review and construction supervision of the project. The Authority demolished structures along the Mombasa-Mtwapa-Malindi highway 18 months ago.

The dualling and upgrading of the 40.4km Mtwapa—Kwa Kadzengo-Kilifi (A7) section will entail the construction of a 7.3km dual carriageway and service lanes on both sides, building of a dual carriageway bridge and upgrading of the existing 33.1km section of road.

According to the tender notice, bidders are expected to submit their documents by February 21.

Once completed, the highway will be the second corridor connecting the port of Mombasa to the rest of the region, after the completion of the Voi-Taveta highway that will serve northern Tanzania and Burundi thorough the Holili Singida-Kobero border.

The project will be implemented simultaneously with the Mombasa Gate Bridge, which received a $434-million loan from the Japan International Corporation Agency last December. This project, part of a co-financing scheme with AfDB's Bagamoyo-Malindi project, will reduce traffic congestion and improve transport logistics between the port and the south Coast and improve connectivity with Tanzania.