Mwachande Bridge to Transform Lives in Kwale County by February – The Ankole Times

Mwachande Bridge to Transform Lives in Kwale County by February

Friday, October 20, 2023

In a significant development for Kwale county, the construction of the Sh548 million Mwachande Bridge, which began in early 2022, has reached 58% completion. The project, initially planned to conclude within two years, has faced delays primarily due to funding constraints. This concrete bridge, spanning 60 meters, traverses the crocodile-infested River Ramisi and plays a vital role in connecting Msambweni, Lunga-Lunga, and Kinango subcounties through the Milalani–Kikoneni-Mwangulu road.

The construction of the Mwachande Bridge is entrusted to the IOTA Engineering Company. It promises a welcome relief to residents and commuters who currently perilously cross a deteriorating wooden bridge alongside the new construction.

Residents of Kikoneni have long endured challenges caused by the poor state of the bridge. In 2016, flooding swept away the previous structure, causing difficulties for the local population and hindering their access to essential services and opportunities for development.

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Government officials, including county commissioner Michael Meru Mwangi, and members of the Government Delivery Unit visited the construction site on October 18, 2023. Mwangi expressed optimism that the bridge would be ready for use by February of the following year, emphasizing the rapid progress being made by the contractor.

The Mwachande Bridge is part of a broader commitment by the government to drive economic transformation in Kwale county. It connects three subcounties, effectively shortening the travel distance for residents, who are currently forced to cover more than 35 kilometers to reach their homes and workplaces. This road also complements the Mombasa-Lunga-Lunga highway, reducing traffic congestion and transportation costs for those traveling within the county.

Kerra regional director Onesmus Ikua stressed the importance of ensuring that the bridge meets required standards. However, the project faces potential setbacks due to the anticipated El Nino rains, as construction is situated near the riverbanks, making it susceptible to flooding.

Isaac Maina, the contractor site agent, pledged to expedite construction and urged the government to promptly disburse funds to ensure the project’s timely completion.

The Mwachande Bridge project is not only crucial for the residents of Kwale county but also provides employment opportunities for the local population, with two-thirds of the workforce being comprised of locals.

The government’s commitment to the timely completion of this project aligns with its broader agenda to bring development to the grassroots, ensuring equal opportunities and improved services. Plans are also underway to construct a 1.6km Shimba Hills airstrip in Matuga, further enhancing transport and tourism activities in the region. National Government Development, County Implementation Coordination Management Committee secretary Benjamin Ndani emphasized the need for oversight to guarantee the quality of work while preventing any substandard practices by the contractor. Nonetheless, the project remains on track, and support will be provided to ensure its successful execution.

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