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The old bridge was commissioned by Governor Joseph Byrne in 1931 while the new one was completed in 1980.
The history of Bridges in Kenya stretches before the colonial times when the indigenous community would use tree logs and rock boulders or rock fill across ‘unfriendly’ sections of the footpath. The ‘unfriendly’ sections included swamps, rivers and gorges.
The crossing points along the footpaths largely followed the narrow crossings and where the banks were stable like where the river/ gorge bank has rock outcrops would be preferable.
During the colonial times the same crossings were mostly improved to modern bridges. Others were found stable with capacities to handle vehicles. Some of these timber bridges are to date found within the forest zones like around Mt. Kenya especially in Nanyuki region.
In coastal areas due to the wide crossing waterways a system of floating bridges was used. An example is the Nyali bridge which was a floating pontoon bridge linking Mombasa Island to the Kenyan mainland.
The bridge linked the Mzizima district of Mombasa to Nyali, and was built in 1931. In 1980, the bridge was superseded by the New Nyali Bridge (located approximately 0.55 miles (0.89 km) to the north), leaving the steel bridge to be dismantled for scrap. The western (Mombasa) approach to the bridge is the only remaining part of the bridge but one of the pontoon mooring anchors is on nearby display at the Tamarind Restaurant