Sh 1 billion to be spent for Lamu jetties rehabilitation

Photo of a section of the Lamu customs jetty closed off in March after it collapsed. The government is yet to commence rehabilitation of the Lamu jetties PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Lamu, KENYA: Engineers from the Ministry of Public Works are in Lamu to assess the situation of Jetties in preparation for their renovation and reconstruction.

Six major entry jetties in Lamu county risk closure due to poor maintenance and rehabilitation.

They include the main Mokowe customs jetty, Manda airport jetty and Lamu island customs jetty in Lamu West and then the Mtangawanda, Kizuke and Jetty ya Ngo’ombe jetties in Lamu East.

The maintenance of these jetties is the mandate of the Ministry of Transport and Public Works.

The six are currently in their worst state after the metals which were used for their construction corroded with rust and collapsed leaving travelers with the now unsafe unsteady stamps.

However, engineers from the Ministry arrived in Lamu town on Monday to undertake a series of assessment before finally embarking on their renovation.

Speaking in Lamu on Tuesday, Chief Structural Engineer in the State Department of Public Works Hillary Nyaanga said the government will spend close to Sh.1 Billion to renovate and build afresh four key jetties in the county.

The Mokowe and Lamu customs jetties together with the Manda and Mtangawanda jetties will all be pulled down and built afresh according to Nyaanga.

He said the jetties will be given a modern facelift and will also be expanded to enable for many users to ply them at the same time.

Residents say the Kizuke and Jeti Ya Ng’ombe jetties are also in a dilapidated condition and need attention.

However, Nyaanga says the focus will be on the four major jetties for the moment.

“We shall soon start work on the Mokowe, Lamu, Manda and Mtangawanda jetties.That exercise will cost close to Sh.1 Billion since we intend to build them afresh.We feel renovation will not help the situation,” said Nyaanga.

He said after the assessment, the necessary report will be presented to the concerned office so that the necessary funds can be disbursed for works to commence.

Nyaanga says as per their assessment so far, building the Mokowe Customs jetty afresh will cost about Sh.400 Million while the Manda airport jetty will cost around Sh.20 Million, a cost that also covers expansion of the jetty.

He said the ministry also plans to undertake the renovation of all sea walls to stop water from the Indian Ocean flowing into residential places and public places.

“Apart from the jetties, we are also renovating the sea walls here because we have received and confirmed reports that many are dilapidated too.Once the report is presented, work will begin at any time,” he added.

The move is a relief for travelers going to Lamu town and other islands who have literally been risking their lives while using the dilapidated jetties that have now become open death traps.

The jetties are the only entry and exit points into and out of Lamu town and other adjacent islands.

Last week, boat operators in Lamu town had to forcefully shut down a section of the Lamu customs jetty after it collapsed and remained unattended to hence posing a danger to users.