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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,25TH DEC,2020-Likoni residents have every reason to smile as they will for the first time get a feel of the Floating Pedestrian Bridge on Christmas Day.
The bridge was opened to the public for about six hours from 8am on Friday.
Coast regional coordinator John Elungata said the opening of the bridge was to enable the Likoni residents to feel what the government has done for them.
“We are also testing the social distance principle,” said Elungata.
The residents welcomed the bridge saying it will decongest the Likoni ferry crossing channel.
“We are tired of the Likoni ferry crossing channel. The waiting, the mishaps, the push and pull, it is all depressing,” said Mariam Mohammed, a resident of Bofu in Likoni.
Mohammed, however, said the long distance from the Island side to the mainland side should have a shed.
“When it rains and when the sun is too hot, we will be suffering,” said Mohammed.
Bikia Gulimo, a Migombani resident in Bofu, said the bridge will open up their small scale businesses.
“We are happy because of the bridge. Although it is too long, it will make us exercise,” said Gulimo.
The bridge is 824m long.
Elungata said after 2pm Friday, the bridge will be closed again until January 1 when it will be opened officially to the public.
However, Elungata said, from January 1, the bridge will be operating daily but only during the day.
“We are developing the Standard Operating Procedures for the bridge. It will be opened at around 4am and be closed to the public at night, depending on the time we will set in the Standard Operating Procedures,” said Elungata.
KPA acting MD Rashid Salim said maritime stakeholders have already been informed about the possible operating procedures.
“Shipping lines and agents have been informed because the ships will be critical to this bridge,” said Salim.
He said the opening and closing schedule of the bridge will have to be in synergy with the ships.
Elungata said matatu termini will be established at both the Islands and mainland sides of the bridge.
“These will only be drop-off points. No stopping,” said the RC.
He said a multi-agency police unit will be deployed at the bridge to ensure the safety of pedestrians crossing.